An unusual visitor walked into the Mageno Ranch Headquarters, within the Tsavo Conservation Area during the morning of 22nd March 2010. This unusual visitor was a bellowing baby elephant, desperate for company and who sent all the Staff scuttling for safety, fearful that the baby's mother might turn up to claim it. Eventually they ventured out, their sudden appearance frightening the little calf, who ran off a short distance, but then returned, desperate for company. Too young to know fear, being only about 1 ½ months old, the Staff tied her to a tree, and then called Dr. David Ndeereh of the Trust's Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit, who in turn alerted our Voi Elephant Keepers that an elephant rescue was needed.
It is suspected that this baby is a poaching victim, although human/wildlife conflict cannot be ruled out since the Ranch has a lot of livestock and herdsmen. The Trust's De-Snaring anti-poaching team has been sent to scour the area to confirm any evidence of possible poaching.
The calf, a female, responded well to the arrival of the Keepers who fed her a bottle of milk and rehydration water before loading her into their Pickup and driving it to the Voi Stockades. Once there she remained close to the Keepers following them around, until the Rescue Plane arrived from Nairobi to airlift her back to the Trust's Nairobi Elephant Nursery.
The calf, who was originally named Mageno to identify her origin, arrived in the Nursery on a very auspicious day - the day that CITES Cop 15 voted in favour of the elephants, prohibiting the requested sale of ivory stockpiles from both Tanzania and Zambia. In celebration of that event, we have named her Sities, pronounced the same but spelt differently. Although Kenya's proposal that no other requests be made for the sale of ivory stockpiles for the 9 year resting period agreed at CITES Cop 14 was rejected, at least the elephants have a 3 year reprieve, before the battle begins again, and this surely must be better than nothing. This was a victory for Kenya who lobbied passionately against the sale of ivory stockpiles, as well as the work of many caring Conservationists, not least ourselves, who recognized that allowing Tanzania and Zambia to sell their ivory would simply further fuel the illegal poaching that has escalated sharply since the sale of the Southern African stockpiles. Furthermore, Tanzania and Zambia have been held responsible for the majority of poached elephants of late, massive ivory hauls seized en route to China identified through DNA as having come from elephants poached in Tanzania's Selous National Park and Zambia's Niassa area.
The arrival of baby Sities in the Elephant Nursery brings to 21 the number of infants in our care in Nairobi. She was introduced to the 4 smallest Nursery members soon after arrival, and with them enjoyed a cooling dustbath in fresh red earth trucked in for their benefit, and playing in water splashed on the ground. She is in good health, feeding well, and overseen by Dida and Suguta, was at the noon mudbath hour the very next day, happily playing in a pile of loose red earth, and closely following the Keepers, just like all the others. We are delighted to welcome our little SITIES into the fold, on the day that CITES, for once, voted in favour of the elephants!