On the 3rd of September Angela Sheldrick was alerted by Dr. Limo, the KWS Veterinary Officer seconded to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Mara Mobile Veterinary Unit, about a tragic case reported from the Masai Mara. Dr. Limo and the Mara Veterinary Team were taking their much deserved off days and were else where in the country at the time, but had received a report of an injured female elephant. In their absence the DSWT funded Sky Vets was requested.
What made this case particularly challenging is the injured female had a young milk dependent calf of about a year old. She had been observed for a number of days by the scouts on the ground and it appeared she had a severely broken leg and was virtually immobile as a result. The prognosis was bleak.
KWS Veterinary Officer Fred Olianga was flown by the DSWT Sky Vet program to the Mara in the company of DSWT Keepers just in case the decision was to euthanize, which is what all reports indicated. The decision would not be taken lightly and would be made once on the ground with the mother anesthetized and when the KWS Veterinary Officer and his assistant could examine her thoroughly and make a full diagnosis and decision.
It was a very sad day for all concerned as close inspection revealed that her leg was broken with no chance of recovery. She was in extreme pain and virtually immobile as a result of her injuries. The decision sadly was euthanasia and to rescue her milk dependent calf before he fell pray to the Mara predators, and so the DSWT Keepers were called to assist in rescuing the baby.
We estimate the baby bull to be approximately 12 months old. Amazingly once at the Nairobi Nursery despite obviously missing his mother terribly he settled fast and began feeding on milk from a bottle the same day. He tamed down quickly thanks to the comfort of Suswa who was right next door, and just two days later he was able to join the other orphans in the bush. Olsekki has enjoyed the balm of the other elephants and the keepers and only time will heal his emotional scars, but little Olsekki (named after the area he came from) is feeling safe in the company of the others.
The reason for his mother’s dramatic fracture remains a mystery.