A lone baby elephant, aged about 20 months, was spotted alone on Ol Malo Ranch on about March 17th 2012 by the Ranch’s Samburu Scouts who reported its presence to the Ranch owners, the Francombes. A Scout named Loponu was then allotted the task of monitoring the calf to verify that it was, indeed, an orphan with no chance of rejoining its natural family. Scout Loponu spent the next two days diligently watching the elephant, and ascertained that it was obviously an orphan, since it made little attempt to join up with passing wild elephant herds, and nor did the wild elephants make any attempt at contact with him.. The baby was visibly extremely fearful, most of its tail already having been bitten off by predators. It spent much of its time hiding in thick cover, obviously terrified of a further predator attack.
Loponu reported back to the Ranch management who alerted the Trust that a rescue was on the cards. Being still milk dependent at approximately 20 months old, the orphan was losing condition.. It was likely to have been orphaned either through “problem animal control” when its mother and herd ventured onto neighbouring agricultural settlement, or else was a victim of poaching, which is rife in the adjoining tribal Pokot country, as it is throughout Kenya generally at the present time.
The Rescue team equipped with all the necessary paraphernalia and medication immediately set off by air from Wilson Airport in Nairobi for the Ol Malo Ranch airstrip, where a truck and Helping Hands were awaiting them upon arrival.
All were then driven to the location of the orphaned calf who was easily and very proficiently rescued thanks to so many willing Helpers, Keeper Amos leading the assault to rapidly cover the elephant’s head and eyes by a blanket. Its legs were then bound and it was gently lain down on a mattress to be driven to the waiting plane for the flight back to the Nairobi Nursery, having been administered the usual prophylactic antibiotic and had his tail wound cleaned and anointed with ointment.
By late evening the young bull was safely in a stable between Orphans Shukuru and Kilabasi, who eagerly extended their trunks to greet and comfort the new arrival . Their presence had an instant calming affect on the newcomer, who was soon taking milk from our “Elephant Whisperer” (Keeper Mishak Nzimbi) who had the guts to actually jump into the stable with this wild orphan in order to feed it. After a bit of shoving and pushing, it downed the milk hungrily followed by two bottles of Water and Rehydrating Electrolytes in quick succession.
We would like to thank the Ol Malo Ranch owners and their Staff for the amazing cooperation they extended to our team, and also warmly congratulate Scout Loponu for saving the life of this young bull. His vigilance kept hyaenas at bay and prevented them from inflicting more serious damage to this unfortunate calf who has been named “Kanjoro” - the name of the lugga on Ol Malo ranch where he was in hiding when rescued on the 20th March, 2012.