On the 4th July, 2011, at midday, the Senior Wildlife Officer of the Bill Woodley Mt. Kenya Trust, Edwin Kinyanjui, (the man who rescued orphan Kenia) received a report from a cattle herder of a lone baby elephant in the Mt. Kenya forest near the Hombe river. In conjunction with KWS personnel, he monitored the calf to see whether the mother would return, but when that failed to happen, the team called the KWS Senior Warden in charge of Mt. Kenya National Park, Robert O,Brien, who previously worked in Tsavo, so our Orphans Project is well known to him. He in turn, alerted the Trust to prepare for a Rescue.
The orphan was a baby bull, estimated to be about 2 months old, since the first molars were beginning to erupt, and the pads of the feet worn. Apart from a deep machete cut on the side of the face, believed to have been inflicted by either un-ele-friendly farmers or pastoralists grazing livestock in the forest, and a damaged right eye as a result, the baby was in fair physical condition. He is almost certainly a victim of poaching, which has escalated sharply in the area of late. (26 elephants are known to have been poached in the Mt. Kenya forests since January 2011.) His Saviours were KWS personnel, Cpl. Kilonzo, Rangers John Ombongi, Siyati Farah and Theophillas Muthui and Scout Charles Nyagah. Robert OBrien supervised the holding of the baby in his home until the plane arrived the next morning, it being too late to mobilize an air rescue by the time the message was received in Nairobi. Well versed in the needs of infant elephants, the calf was fed only water prior to a formula feed as soon as the plane landed.
By mid-morning on the 5th July 2011, little Mumbushi was safely back at the Nairobi Nursery. He takes his name from the swampy area near the Hombe river where he was found, Mumbushi meaning Swampy area. Desperately hungry, and exhausted, apparently having cried all the previous night at the Senior Wardens home, he was administered the routine prophylactic antibiotic to guard against pneumonia, had his machete wound anointed with green clay and was given rehydrants and milk.