On the 5th of October, the Voi keepers received a call from Wildlife Works who have a significant presence on the adjacent Ranch Lands abutting both Tsavo East and West National Parks. They reported that a baby elephant was spotted over the past three days living alone on Taita ranch. The Keepers together with KWS and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Burra desnaring team jointly rushed to the area. There they found a totally emaciated female calf of two years old, with no other elephants or even sign of elephant in the area. Clearly she had been without her family for many days.
We believe she is a poaching victim as there have been a number of poaching incidents in this area recently. Only a few days before, our team extracted another adolescent elephant stuck in the mud, but she was too old to rescue, and old enough to survive alone. It was their hope she would join up with another herd in time.
The orphan calf was captured and taken straight to the Voi Stockades. It was decided that she remain in Voi to be raised down there amidst our Keeper dependent Voi orphans of a similar age, and of course have the chance to join the wild herds of Tsavo again.
Kivuko, named after the area she was rescued from, is in poor condition, but the presence of our older orphans, and the comfort and assurance they impart has gone a long way to healing her emotional scars and settling her down. She loves her milk, and has become insatiable like so many starvation victims become, desperate for what they lacked for so long. Our two newly built taming stockades at Voi have already proved their worth, and the Keepers are now able to sleep with the babies and provide the 24 hour care that they require.
Lesanju, the mini matriarch leading the Voi orphans is desperate to have Kivuko in their midst, but the Keepers are mindful to ensure that she is totally hooked on both them and the milk bottle before releasing her to join them on their daily outings. Recently they have been fraternizing with the wild herds, and if Kivuko was to be spirited away, while still milk dependent, and in poor condition, it would be detrimental to her survival. We are happy to report that she is settling down and with each day shows a marked improvement, and it will not be long before she is joins her new family.