On the 8th January 2014 The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust rescued two orphaned elephants. The first was Losesia, a six month old female who had fallen down a man made well in Sera Conservancy, Northern Kenya, but very sadly died soon after her arrival her at the Nursery having ingested well water into her lungs. The second calf was a two year old bull rescued from Amboseli National Park, his mother was known to the researchers of Amboseli as Zombie. Zombie was treated in December by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust funded Sky Vet program, a program that we run in conjunction with KWS, after we received reports of a sick female with a young dependent calf. It remained a mystery as to what her problem actually was, with no obvious injuries to treat, long acting antibiotics were administered. Throughout this time she did not travel far, and her young calf remained by her side, with the rest of the herd moving further a field.
Three weeks later we received a phone call from KWS that she had been found collapsed in a water hole too weak to stand, with stories of her young calf gallantly protecting her from the curious and hungry hyenas. Both were at risk of a gruesome end. We immediately prepared for the Sky Vet once again, this time headed by KWS veterinary officer Isaac Lekelol and our elephant Keepers accompanying him. The team headed to Amboseli, fully expecting that this may well have a tragic end, and that the calf may need rescuing before nightfall, as clearly with the hyenas aware of his presence and plight the chances were high that he would not be found in one piece the following day.
Her baby we know is two years old as his birth and first two years have been observed and filmed by the Amboseli Elephant Research team. He was a big and robust calf, typical of Amboseli elephants, and because of the stressful situation it was decided the best route would be to dart him, put him to sleep and for him to be transported by air to Nairobi, a short flight of 40 minutes. With the help of KWS and the Masai community, from the area where Zombie and her calf shared their last days, committed to helping the rescue team in lifting the immobilized calf onto the back of the KWS land cruiser and later with the heavy task of loading the calf onto the waiting aircraft this whole process was managed quickly before nightfall.