The Oltepes village lies within a traditional elephant migratory passage linking Tsavo West and East and as such is an area of ongoing human/wildlife conflict. The name Oltepes means "Acacia" and at this time of the year the Acacia trees drop nutritious pods which all animals relish, including the elephants. Hence, every time the elephants move along this route, and pause to feed on the Acacias near this village, they find themselves in trouble from a notoriously un-ele-friendly community.
The latest orphan from this area, is a two year old bull calf whose mother is believed to be the poached cow elephant who died of poisoned arrow wounds and was found by the Trust's Ziwani De-Snaring team last month. The calf had apparently been spotted in the area by people from the village, who viewed him as a threat to their children herding livestock. They said that he had visited the body of his slain mother several times. His presence was first reported to the Bonham Scouts who alerted the Trust' Field Officer at Kaluku, and he in turn contacted the Keepers based at the Trust's Voi Rehabilitation Elephant Stockades.
Our Ziwani De-Snaring team and our Voi Elephant Keepers found and rescued the calf during the afternoon of the 27th August, after which he was driven to the Voi Stockades for the night, comforted by the presence of the Keeper Dependent babies based there.
He had a spear wound in the ear, which penetrated the shoulder behind, in a glancing way, and not too deep. The Nursery Rescuers went armed with a Pole Injection to give the new orphan a mild dose of Stressnil for the flight to Nairobi the next day - 28th August 2011. He arrived at noon and was named Rombo - the name of the general area of human/wildlife conflict that has yielded several of our orphans who have come in with spear injuries.
He was 2 years old, tiny tusks already protruding through the lip, and although emaciated, was not in life threatening physical condition. He was also very calm for a newcomer of this age, and by nightfall was taking milk from a hand-held bottle, and even sucking on the Keeper's fingers, albeit on the other side of the Taming Stockade partition. He is a very lucky little elephant to have escaped severe spearing and been rescued in time and as soon as he is stabilized, will be a candidate for the Ithumba Unit, there to join other two year olds who have already sprouted tusks.