Published on the 14th of March, 2015
Mzima’s crystal clear springs that bubble up from the porous lava rock in the middle of Tsavo West National Park, is an oasis fringed with raffia palms in an otherwise arid land. These stunning clear pools are home to fish, hippo and crocodiles and are relied upon by an abundance of animals. This precious water is also piped along a direct pipeline built in 1966 to provide drinking water for Mombasa. This pipeline runs through Tsavo West National Park and Tsavo East National Park and along the way leaks provide sought after watering and wallowing points for elephants and numerous other wildlife. These same points can become lethal death traps for tiny vulnerable baby elephants, as with regular use they become extremely deep often with slippery well-worn sides from their continual use.
In February the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Voi Keepers rescued two elephant babies along the Mzima Springs water pipeline which were then successfully reunited with their mother and herd.
This was a challenging undertaking as in both instances the herd was standing vigil and very agitated and aggressively charging the vehicle and men repeatedly.
KWS continually monitors these watering points pre-empting these incidents by excavating the sides, but in the dry season, with literally hundreds of elephants converging daily, the risk remains along what is literally hundreds of miles of pipeline.
Thankfully in Tsavo East Voi this stretch of pipeline is a popular tourist route and in the case of these two stricken babies they were seen by tourists and reported to KWS in time enabling the David Sheldrick Wildlife Team to rescue them and reunite them before their mothers and herd had abandoned them.