A young approximately 20 year old female elephant mother was sighted on the 22nd of September and appeared healthy while happily playing with her two calves near Enkikwei an area in the Mara North Conservancy. The older of her two calves was approximately seven years old and male while the younger baby was estimated to be approximately 10 – 11 months old male. Tragically on the 23rd of September the same mother was discovered dead but with no visible injuries. This came as a terrible shock to both the Mara North Conservancy Management and the DSWT funded mobile veterinary team based in the Masai Mara who responded to the case. Signs of acute Gastroenteritis were evident and to this day it remains a mystery as to what could have possibly killed her so rapidly unless she had eaten something poisonous. She was found dead a few meters away from the Musiara entrance gate of the Masai Mara near the Masai village called Enkikwei where she was sighted the previous day.
The baby calf at this stage was being protected by his elder brother, still in the orbit of where his mother lay lifeless on the Mara plains. Very tragically despite his brother’s best efforts, being so young and milk dependent, he could not survive without being rescued and hand raised so the team on the ground new this decision had to be made and in good time before he became vulnerable to predators.
The DSWT was contacted and a rescue was mobilized headed to the Mara North Conservancy. The DSWT rescue team arrived in the afternoon and found the calf already captured and standing in the back of a land cruiser waiting for them on the airfield. Of course the fact that his older brother of seven had lost on this day his beloved mother and tiny brother was not lost on any of those involved in this case. Thankfully we are confident that he is old enough to be looked after by his loving relatives and in time his physiological wounds will heal.
The team arrived back in Nairobi with the baby in the late evening, and he arrived full of fight. A strong and robust calf he took a few days to settle down, but fortunately for him he found himself in a stockade next to magical Embu. Embu’s love and reassurance throughout the nights that followed, and then once he was out with the others after only a few short days with her constant companionship, has ensured Enkikwe (named after the area he was found) has found love and an inseparable bond which has lessened his pain.
He has settled in remarkably well given the circumstances and now even shares a night stockade with Embu, sleeping soundly by her side. Enkikwe is a month on since his rescue genuinely happy despite the tragedy that befell him, and we only hope that his brother is healing too still with his natal herd on the plains of the Masai Mara.