On the 10th of September we received a call from Ibrahim Kantet from the Eseriani Wildlife Association regarding reports of an abandoned elephant in Masai Community lands beyond Mt. Suswa, en route to the Masai Mara. The Kenya Wildlife Service rangers from Ngong first traveled to the location and confirmed the reports. The Trust was then immediately mobilized and together with KWS Veterinary Officer Domnic Mijele and his assistant, the team of Keepers and driver set off from Nairobi to rescue this calf. The area she was located was miles from any airstrip and the quickest and only option was by vehicle. From Nairobi they headed down the Rift Valley escarpment and turned off at Mai Mahiu heading towards Narok. Not far beyond Mt. Suswa, a dormant volcano and smaller replica of Mt. Longonot a volcano near Lake Naivasha, the team was guided off the main road and then on crude tracks deep into the Masai community lands.
Eventually they met up with the KWS Ngong ranger patrol. Together with KWS and the helpful Masai community in this area our team searched through dusty dry river beds and scrub lands in search of the calf . She was extremely wild and fearful and kept charging off deep into the surrounding bush. After some time she was re-located, and the Vet was able to dart her with a tranquilizer and it was not very long before she became much calmer thanks to the effects of the drug. After she had calmed down sufficiently it made it possible for our team of Keepers to approach close enough to capture and restrain her.
They were now faced with the challenging task of getting the calf back to the vehicles which had remained a distance away due to the challenging terrain, steep sided dry luggas, thick vegetation and huge erosion gullies. She was tethered around the foot and persuaded to follow which to everybodys surprise she duly did. As they approached the vehicles, an expectant Masai community crowd had now gathered, as an elephant in these parts was an unusual sight indeed. Here she was given a bottle of rehydration and a bottle of milk which she took. She was then prepared for the long drive back to Nairobi on a mattress in the back of a land cruiser. She was mildly traquilized to lessen the stress.
She was driven back up the windy rift valley escarpment road, and through the towns on the outskirts of Nairobi, of course attracting curious attention along the way. On arrival back at the DSWT Nariobi Nursery she was placed in a stockade with Kihari on the other side to give her comfort. She was extremely thin and weak and later collapsed but was revived thanks to intravenous drips. Her first few days were precarious indeed, but despite this she fed well even during her weakest moments, and slowly gathered strength and calmed down amazingly quickly. Very soon she became hooked to both her Keepers and the milk bottle. She is an incredibly gentle and lovely elephant. We have named her Suswa after the Mt. Suswa, and suspect she is approximately 18 months old.
Because of her mild temperament it was not long before she was able to join the other Nursery orphans out in the Park. This transition from wild elephant to Keeper dependent Nursery baby was extremely smooth and amazingly she even joined the public viewing between 11 -12pm on her first day out of the stockades, together with her Nursery friends. They had obviously communicated to her the routine because as a casual observer at the public viewing it was impossible to spot who the newcomer was. She beautiful loving nature has made Suswa a favorite amongst the other Nursery babies and her Keepers. She is beautifully behaved at all times and seems to have embraced her new environment and friends completely.