We received a call early in the morning of November 8th about a tiny elephant calf that had been rescued within the West Gate Community Conservancy having been robbed of his family by the flood waters of the Ewaso Niro river. Early that same morning a community guard named Hospitali happened upon this tiny calf grappling in the fast flowing flood waters, obviously having been washed, tumbled and bumped down river by the raging torrent.
This region has experienced heavy rains for a number of weeks, and while beautifully green, and food now plentiful, baby elephants during this time are extremely vulnerable when crossing the swollen river Ewaso Niro. Hospitali pulled the calf to the safety of dry land, and once the tiny baby had regained his strength, walked the calf the kilometer to Sasaab Lodge where Hospitali works. Ali and Tony Allport, the managers of Sasaab Lodge, contacted the Kenya Wildlife Service Senior Warden for the district reporting the plight of the tiny calf. Locating the calfs herd in this vast area, with no idea of how far downstream he had even been swept was clearly not an option, and so it was decided that he required the support of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
The rescue plane landed at the Kipsing airfield and the team was met by Tony and taken to the lodge where the tiny little male calf waited their arrival. Still pink behind the ears, and clearly very hungry he immediately took the milk offered to him without too much resistance. After that his bumps and bruises from being swept down river were treated with the magical green clay, before he was prepared for his one hour flight back to Nairobi.
On arrival back at the Nursery he was clearly exhausted by his ordeal, fed again and then in the comfort of his stable, with a Keeper close at hand finally slept. Later he was introduced to the others, and immediately settled knowing that he had his elephant family once again. Little babies this age, while incredibly fragile and difficult to raise on formula, do not suffer the same emotional trauma elephants of five months and older feel. Too young to fully comprehend events he soon settled into Nursery life, and while he loves the company of the other orphans he is absolutely hooked on his Keepers.
We have named this tiny little calf Sasab, and a couple of weeks on from his rescue he has just sprouted his first tooth, which normally happens at four weeks old. We therefore suspect Sasab was just two weeks when orphaned.