After a much needed break of 2 weeks, Saturday 14th March brought another Elephant Rescue, a yearling calf, believe it or not, from the self-same well at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro that has already been responsible for having orphaned Sinya, Kibo, and Mawenzi. This well is situated in Masai Tribal Land at a place known as Sinya. And it has been dug through Meerschaum rock which seems to have a devastating affect on bruised skin. The latest arrival is a baby female, whom we have named “Shira”; the name of another peak on Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa which dominates the Amboseli landscape.
Apparently baby “Shira” remained trapped in the well overnight, and had superficial wounds on her trunk, probably caused by a jackal that night, and was discovered the following morning by two Masai cattle herders, one a lady named Sisina and the other a man named Lais Ole Palalel who alerted the Kenya Wildlife Service and the Amboseli Researchers to the presence of yet another elephant well victim at Sinya. Nora Katito of the Amboseli Research team assisted by KWS Rangers managed to extract the calf and drive it to the Amboseli Reserve’s airstrip, from whence the Rescue Plane collected her and flew her to the Nairobi Nursery. She arrived in the afternoon, very fearful and traumatized, and was placed in one of the Taming Stockades so that the Keepers could try and calm her down. Although thin, she was not overly malnourished, and has responded well. The skin of her back was extensively bruised from struggling in the rocky well, and but that too is healing well.
The Amboseli Researchers and KWS have managed to persuade the Masai tribesmen of the area to agree to an experimental low stone wall close to the edge of the well so that adult elephants can still stand and drink, but the calves will not be able to fall in so easily. The Masai are not prepared for any modification to their well other than the wall, fearing that it will interfere with what, for them, is a crucial source of water in an arid area. We are hopeful that the wall will save any more casualties at this place, and if it proves successful, then the same protection can be installed in other similar wells in the area.
Little Shira was initially extremely fearful of humans, and has been difficult to calm, but with the input of the other Nursery orphans, she now understand that she is among friends, and that the Keepers are her new “family” who will steer her into adulthood and ultimately see that she takes her place back where she rightly belongs, amongst other wild elephants.