A lone elephant calf was first spotted by the Kenya Wildlife Service within the Mount Kenya National Park during one of their daily patrols on Friday 2nd August. The calf was reported that day to KWS Field Veterinary Officer Dr Mutinda as well as to the DSWT Nairobi HQ. The KWS rangers lost sight of the calf during the day so any chance of a rescue was postponed.
Over the following days the KWS continued to search the area where the calf was last seen without luck until on the morning of the Wednesday 7th August when the young elephant was finally located. The KWS made plans to immediately capture the calf before it had the chance to disappear again. Due to the fairly large size of the elephant and its small tusks the KWS Warden and vet made the decision to dart the calf in order to capture it and transport it to the nearest airstrip at Nanyuki to await the DSWT.
During this time the Warden informed the DSWT team in Nairobi at around 4pm that an aircraft and rescue team needed to be sent to Nanyuki urgently to collect and care for the calf. As daylight was fading the Nairobi elephant keepers rushed to the domestic airstrip and were airborne by 5pm. After a 40minute flight up to the Mount Kenya region the rescue team arrived and quickly prepared the calf, who was waiting with the KWS at the airstrip, for his return flight to Nairobi.
The DSWT team and the new orphan were en-route to Nairobi by 6pm, landing just in time at sunset. A DSWT vehicle was awaiting their arrival in order to transfer the calf to the Nursery. Dodging Nairobi commuter traffic and short-cutting through Nairobi National Park, the tired and stressed calf arrived at the Nursery just after 8pm.
On closer inspection the keepers confirmed that this malnourished and dehydrated little elephant had indeed been on his own for quite some days, unable to get the nourishment he needs to survive from vegetation alone, he is gaunt and thin. At approximately 2 years old he is still very aggressive to the keepers despite his weakness, chasing them around the stockade where he has been placed next to the Nursery’s newest arrival, Vuria.
Thankfully the following morning this beautiful mountain elephant, covered in long black hairs typical of highland elephant herds, took milk from the keepers surrounded by the encouragement of the rest of the orphan family. All at the DSWT hope this new arrival continues to feed well and regain strength in order to get him through the trauma he was experienced.