The sad loss of three little souls

The sad loss of three little souls, Risasi, Arabukko and Kerio Risasi: Risasi was rescued from Tsavo East National Park

The sad loss of three little souls, Risasi, Arabukko and Kerio

Risasi: Risasi was rescued from Tsavo East National Park. He was a spirited strong willed young bull the keepers nicknamed Risasi; He was rescued and treated by the DSWT/KWS Tsavo Veterinary Unit before being airlifted to the Nairobi Nursery.

He came into the Nursery fighting despite what appeared to be a bullet wound to the head and a severely injured forelimb. He was full of energy and gave the keepers a real run around which left us with high hopes for him. Unfortunately, an X-Ray of his injured leg revealed a severe and complete fracture of his femur. It was suspected that his mother and family were fired upon from a shooting blind in a tree given the location of the bullet. Poor Rasasi took a bullet to the head that fractured his skull.   The injury to his leg was far more severe.  

The location and extent of the break meant there was no chance he could live a normal life. The bone was irreparable and would never be able to support his weight. It was with a heavy heart and veterinary advice that Risasi was euthanised.

Kerio: At approximately 3pm on the 17/7/2014, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust received a phone call informing them about an elephant that needed rescuing from Eldoret. There was no time to lose and within an hour the team was in the air to save yet another elephant; the third in a week. 

The elephant calf was rescued at the Kaboroi Area near Cheptai River by a KWS team. Her mother was sadly speared to death two days before by poachers. There was no sign of her tusks and her face bore severe hack wounds proving beyond doubt she had been killed for her ivory. The plane was met by school children who had run out of their homes to watch the plane land. It was late in the day, so time was of the essence as the team waited patiently for the elephant baby to arrive. Finally a KWS land cruiser pulled up with a little baby elephant standing in the back, just in time as any longer and the plane wouldn’t have been unable to take off in the dark.

The Keiyo community had named this little girl Kerio after a nearby valley and she was approximately 2 months old when she joined the other five little babies at the Nursery. A check up on arrival revealed that she was severely dehydrated and had a bacterial infection therefore she was immediately put on a drip and a course of antibiotics. Poor Kerio battled the bacterial infection for over week with several subsequent drips and other essential medication to help manage her stomach and diarrhoea. Despite round the clock care and constant medical attention Kerio continued to deteriorate. Sadly she eventually passed away a week later.

Arabukko: On the very last day of July another rescue was underway; this time to in the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest near Malindi where members of the community had found a lone male baby elephant.

The elephant calf was spotted all alone at around 8am in the morning by the community of an area called Dzunkuni which borders Arabuko Sokoke Forest in the Watamu area. They then alerted a fence line attendant who was patrolling the fence that separates the forest from the community. He alerted the KWS immediately who rapidly responded by sending a rescue team out to try retrieve the elephant. The elephant was captured and transported to Malindi airstrip where they awaited the David Sheldrick rescue team to land.

This little boy was named Arabukko and though he had no obvious wounds he was very thin and pouring mud from his rear end for days.  No one knew why or how long he had been separated from his family. Oltaiyoni, who was in the stable next door gave little Arabukko much needed comfort.  Despite our best efforts and much veterinary intervention we were unable to save Arabukko as we simply could not get control of his upset stomach nor the infection.   He very sadly slipped away on the 8/8/2014.

Though they only spent a short time with us these three orphans were cherished, and much loved and losing any life is hard, but July was a particularly challenging month for all of the DSWT team.  They will be missed but not forgotten.