Two Sad Losses




The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust was alerted midday on the 20th of December that a one year old elephant was reported abandoned at Lumo Wildlife Conservancy. A vehicle was quickly dispatched to find two keepers – Abdi and Julius to join the rescue team, meanwhile back at the stockades milk and rehydration liquids were prepared. By 1pm the Tsavo Field Unit and the Trust’s Voi pickup loaded with the Keepers and milk were on the way to The Lumo Wildlife Conservancy. The Ziwani de-snaring unit was also contacted to help assist with the rescue.

Once at Lumo two conservancy rangers accompanied each vehicle as they headed off in search of the elephant which was last seen early that morning. It was the Keepers Julius and Abdi who eventually found her, resting under a small tree, all alone and desperately dehydrated. She appeared to be approximately 18 months old, a fairly big calf to have to wrestle into the rescue pickup. Julius, always brave, walked straight up to her while the other Keepers stood close by. When the calf decided to charge Julius he just pointed his finger and yelled ‘wewe!’ This stopped her in her tracks no less than 5 feet from him and gave enough time for the others to surround and catch her. Within minutes she was loaded into the vehicle and on her way back to the DSWT’s Voi stockades.
Once back at the Voi Unit she received more rehydration and a weak solution of milk although not much went down. It was at least 40 minutes before the older orphans returned to their night stockades and the noise was incredible as they arrived to find a guest in their stockades. They all came to investigate the new comer. From time to time in order to get some more fluid down her the keepers had to all climb into the stockade and hold her so she did not charge whilst calendula was applied to her trunk which had a small cut and some more milk given. During this entire process all the elephant who could see what was going on started trumpeting and became very agitated by the little baby’s screams of distress.

The following morning when the older orphans were let out of their night stockades they appeared most reluctant to leave the new orphaned calf that had been named Lumo after the area she was rescued. Edie kept on returning and refused to abandon the baby. It was not long before things appeared not quite right and all of a sudden Lumo collapsed to the ground, shivering. Very quickly she lapsed into a coma at around 8am. By 10am her breathing had become extremely labored and despite our best efforts we were unable to save her. Very sadly Lumo’s young life slipped away and she died just 24 hours after being rescued.



At a point in time, when the country is gripped by a devastating drought, particularly severe in the Northern part of Kenya, it seemed ironic that a 4 month old elephant orphan be brought in, having been named “Yiari” by the community that saved him in an extremely arid area of the country, for Yiari means “Green Pastures” in the Samburu language.

However, this baby was indeed bogged in the mud of one of the last vestiges of “green pasture” in land laid bare by drought, for a lugga running from higher ground ends in a swamp in the lowlands of the Ilingwezi Community Sanctuary. Unhappily, little “Yiari” arrived with advanced pneumonia, and was therefore lost to us from the start – one of the many “hopeless” cases. He came in on the 4th January, and died on the 6th, and during those last two days of his life, we struggled long and hard to save his life, but were defeated.
As always there was consolation in knowing that he did not die alone, and that when he slipped away, he was surrounded by people who loved him, and who cradled him gently as he died. This was surely a better end than dying all alone under a baking sun held fast by caked and drying mud. Rest in Peace little Yiari.