Early evening on the 26th January Angela Sheldrick received a call from Dr. Limo, a KWS Veterinary officer seconded to the DSWT Mara Mobile Veterinary Unit, regarding an orphaned calf that had been seen by Save the Elephant Rangers while on their daily patrol. KWS had also received numerous reports from community members regarding the young calf that was sighted wandering in the Narok area, a populated area and a good distance from where one would expect to be sighting elephants. It remains a mystery as to what happened to this calf’s mother and elephant herd. In order to prevent the young elephant from coming to any harm during the night, KWS Rangers assisted by Save the Elephant captured the calf that evening, keeping it overnight as it was too late for a rescue team to be sent from Nairobi.
Early the next morning a plane was organized and the DSWT team left for Narok airstrip arriving a little before 11am after a short flight lasting just 45 minutes. It was a hot morning and the airstrip was extremely dry, dusty and not in the best condition. |They were met by an ever increasing crowd, aside from her rescuers who had driven the calf to the airstrip to meet the plane, there were numerous community members converging, all extremely curious about the orphaned baby and wanting to know what had happened to her.
The approximately 15 month old elephant was being kept restrained and lying down in the back of a covered pickup. While talking to the men who rescued her it was ascertained that the calf had been recumbent from the time of her rescue at 6pm the previous evening and had not eaten or drank anything in over 18 hours. The calf was thin and weak and was unable to get to her feet. At this early stage the prognosis did not look good, and everyone felt that help probably had arrived too late. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Keepers loaded her into the plane as quickly as possible in order to waste no time giving her intravenous support throughout the flight. She was loaded into the aircraft, too weak to put up any resistance at all, with the assistance of the rescuers and willing community members all of whom were taking photos with their phones and looking to see what was being done and how the young calf was faring. It was not long before the plane was on the way back to Nairobi with their precious cargo who did not stir once.
Back at the Nursery she was taken off the drip and helped up. Amazingly she had now mustered the strength to get to her feet. She immediately drank milk and charged the keepers who were quick to make a hasty exit from her stockade in order to give her some space. She started to feed on the fresh cut greens that were in place and continued to feed throughout the night with fresh vegetation being brought to her in abundance.
We have named her Siangiki which means young girl in Masai. She is very calm and relaxed and has settled in quickly making friends with Nursery orphan Arruba who stayed by her side the day after her rescue. She has accepted the keepers and on the 31st January Siangiki was let out of her stockade in order to join the others and was warmly greeted by the rest of the Nursery orphans with Arruba, Suswa, Mashariki, Oltaiyoni and Lentili sandwiching her between them as they touched her gently with their trunks before leading her out to the bush.
Since her arrival she has formed bonds with Embu, Enkikwe, Oltaiyoni and Boromoko who arrived at the beginning of the month and is often seen browsing close to them. She is a very friendly lovely little elephants who adores her keepers and as the memory of her lost family fades we are able to watch her grow more settled by the day.