On the 25th of September a tiny calf was retrieved from a well on the Namunyak conservancy in Samburu by the community rangers. He had obviously fallen down this community dug well meant specifically for livestock but so often frequented by the thirsty elephant herds under the cover of darkness in the dry season months. Little elephant calves at this time become increasingly vulnerable and slip in. Because of the human presence the elephant herds disappear at daybreak to avoid human wildlife conflict and in this case are faced with the simply heartbreaking decision of walking away from their forsaken calf.
Fortunately for the baby the community alerted the security rangers of the area when they were confronted by this stranded baby elephant who were able to retrieve him from the well. The decision was made by the management of the area to keep the calf overnight and try to reintroduce him to a herd in an effort to reunite him with his family.
This did not work sadly and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust was alerted the following day, 26th of September, by the Kenya Wildlife Service about his plight and a rescue was requested. A DSWT team of experienced Keepers flew into the Namunyak airstrip and retrieved the tiny baby. He was by this stage very dehydrated, as it had been a significant amount of time by now without milk. He was expertly restrained for the flight back to Nairobi and an IV drip put in place for the duration of the flight. On arrival at the Nursery the little baby was placed into a freshly prepared stable and given milk, which he took greedily. We called him Lasayen, a beautiful name from the area, a sacred mountain name for the Samburu.
Lasayen was teething when he came into the Nursery fold, which would suggest he was around about a month old when he so tragically lost his elephant family. This is a fraught time, and we loose so many babies during teething as their condition deteriorates and sometimes to the point of being irretrievable. Fragile calves so often succumb during this incredibly stressful time, a time that can span a few months, sometimes even three months. Lasayen definitely struggled which is quite normal, we have had over the span of many years seen few that don’t, but thankfully he then began to pick up when his teeth were finally all out, and his energy level improved, as did his body condition.
He is full of character and loved by all and of course the nurturing older orphans particularly. He has settled well and is genuinely happy and hooked on his many elephant friends and his beloved Keepers too.