The 13th May 2009 was both a bad and good day for the elephants of the Mathews range in the area overseen by the Milgis Trust and their Scouts. It was a bad day because yet another baby elephant had fallen down one of the wells in the lower Milgis lugga at a place called Kudup and it was a good day in that a huge downpour of rain relieved the long and severe drought that had taken such a devastating toll of many young elephant lives, several milk dependent older calves having been found already dead from both drought and thirst, unable to reach the water in deep wells, or who had lost their mother to poachers.
Because of the heavy rain storm, there was actually no need for the local tribesmen to visit the wells in the Milgis Lugga for there was rain water everywhere. However, very fortunately, one man just happened to be passing by, and heard the bellows of the baby elephant down one of the wells. Upon inspection it was obvious that her elephant mother had desperately tried to extract the baby, for she had dug all round the sides of the well with her tusks, but the ground was hard, and the well deep, so in the end she had accepted defeat and been forced to leave her precious baby to a slow and lingering death. One can just imagine the agony of that decision, and the grief that mother felt on that fateful day.
The passer-by managed to get a message to the Milgis Trust Headquarters and a 5 man rescue team was soon at the scene. They managed to manoeuvre a rope loop around the torso of the calf, the baby making this easier by standing on her back legs in a desperate attempt to get out. Having been hauled out, she was strong enough to give her rescuers a run-around, for the immediately began chasing them. The team did their best to calm her down and eventually managed to restrain her and tie her legs, as others went in search of any nearby herds that might include the mother. The Milgis Trust also positioned people on all available high ground to try and search for elephant herds, or any lone cow that might be the calf's mother, hoping to be able to reunite her with her elephant mother.
As the men with the calf waited for a miracle, suddenly at 1.30 p.m. a huge wall of water came flooding down the Milgis lugga higher up near the Headquarters, which would definitely have drowned the little elephant had the passerby not found her in time. If ever there was a lucky little orphan, it has to be this one. The men remained with the baby all that day and throughout a very uncomfortable night, surrounded by hungry hyaenas who had an eye on a free meal, fearful that they might be taken unawares by a visiting herd of elephants, or perhaps the return of the mother. One old bull appeared during the night, splashing his way across the shallows in the lugga, which had not yet received the flood. The men prepared themselves to have to beat a hasty retreat, should he turn aggressive, but he merely looked at the calf, who was bellowing loudly and was desperate to join him, before moving on.
At about 5 a.m. the wall of rainwater came down in a massive flood and at first light the search for wild elephants, and the mother of the calf began afresh. However, there were no elephants to be found anywhere, all obviously having left, released from their drought stricken dry weather range by the rain. It was then that an elephant rescue became a "must" the Trust meanwhile standing by, all the while praying that this baby might just be lucky enough to be reunited with her elephant mother. However, it was not to be and she was airlifted to safety during the afternoon of the 14th May 2009, and at the request of her rescuers, was named "Kudup" - the name of the place where she was saved on that fateful day.