The Hombe Forest covers the lower slopes of Mt. Kenya and very fortunately the community that occupies this part of the country is ele-friendly, mainly due to Edwin Kinyanjui of the Mt. Kenya Bill Woodley Trust, who has had a hand in rescuing orphans Kenia, Mumbushi and now little Kihari - a yearling female calf who, like the others, wandered alone onto community land on the 9th September 2011 and whose presence was reported to Edwin Kinyanjui by community members Paul Nyagah and Martin Waweru. These two men kept a watch over the orphan, that day hoping that its mother would return during the night to reclaim it, but there was no evidence of other elephants in the area. While we do not know for sure, but since a marked escalation of poaching has been reported within the Mt. Kenya National Park of late, and the calf was very weak having obviously been without milk for some time, she is likely to have been yet another poaching victim. She was reported as being friendly towards humans, which for a wild calf of that age, is never a good sign!
Her presence was reported to the Warden, Robert O'Brien, who is familiar with the work of the Trust, having previously worked in Tsavo, and who sent eight Rangers under the leadership of Senior Sgt. Lokonyan to retrieve the calf the next day and drive it to Nanyuki airfield, meanwhile alerting the Trust that an air rescue was on the cards. By 10 a.m. on the 10th September 2011, the yearling orphan, who at the request of the community has been named Kihari (the name of that specific area) was safely back at the Nursery, and although obviously weak and thin, still had sufficient strength to give the Keepers quite a run around, but slept well during the night.
By morning she was still feisty and had refused the milk, but had taken some water. She then collapsed during the afternoon of the 11th, which entailed the insertion of life supporting Dextrose drip into an ear vein which revived her. However by evening she was again in a state of collapse and breathing very heavily, so the drip was replaced and revived her a second time. Once back on her feet, she took milk during the night and by the morning of the 12th September, was much stronger.
Little Kihari is a beautiful little elephant, aged about one year, with large bright eyes and a spirited disposition. We are hopeful that she will live to enjoy a wild life again as another member of our growing Ex Orphan family in the fullness of time.