On October 3rd during a KWS aerial patrol over the Narok/Masai Mara area a yearling calf was spotted alone, frantically trying to follow a bull who was passing nearby, yet the calf was unable to keep up and soon fell behind. The calf was believed to have strayed from the Masai Mara National Reserve having lost its mother and elephant family, and is thought to be another sad victim of poaching driven by the demand in the Far East for ivory.
One of the KWS ground teams in the area was mobilized to search for the calf or to locate any elephants or carcasses nearby, but nothing was found. A decision was then made to give the calf one night for a possible reunion with its mother.
The following morning the aerial team managed to locate the calf who by now was still sadly alone and heading northwards in the direction of Narok town. The calf was in serious danger of straying into hostile territory and becoming yet another victim of human-wildlife conflict, as the communities within this area are not elephant-friendly due to the intensive farming which has taken root within this traditional elephant territory.
A quick decision was then made to capture it immediately and transfer it to the DSWT Nairobi Nursery for care and support, without which the calf would face imminent death.
Whilst the KWS ground team was on its way to the calf's location, the baby was seen wandering past a local manyatta (homestead). Luckily the owner was welcoming to this small orphaned elephant and immediately reported its presence to the Kenya Wildlife Service personnel based at Narok, who were already on their way and who had already contacted the Trusts Mara Mobile Veterinary Unit.
With aerial support in the sky, the DSWT Mobile Veterinary Unit managed to locate the calf, who had since wandered even further into thick bush during the afternoon, where it was finally successfully captured and driven to the nearest airstrip.
Having been given Stressnil, it was then loaded onto the chartered plane, which was already in situ awaiting its arrival in order to airlift it back to our Nairobi Nursery. The calf arrived at 4.30 p.m on the 4th October 2012, bringing the total number of infant elephants in our Nairobi Nursery to 25.
The calf was estimated to be about 18 months old and was a female, who was extremely fearful and wild, but who, with the input of the caring Keepers and the other Nursery elephants, hopefully will soon be sufficiently docile to take milk from a hand-held bottle, and understand that she is no longer threatened, but has been afforded a second chance of life amongst another loving human and elephant family, who will do their utmost to replace what she has lost so tragically, and who will heal her psychologically and nurture and love her as would her natural elephant family. She has been named "Narok".