The one year old calf, first sighted behind the Voi Safari Lodge hill adjacent to the Park boundary, approached the electric fence maintenance team as they were working on the fence-line. The calf was quite obviously desperate to attach himself to anything for protection and company, having been a number of days without it's elephant mother or family. The men continued their work despite being rather alarmed by the presence of the baby, half expecting an irate mother at any moment, but when they returned to their camp in the late evening and the baby elephant approached them and then trailed them back to their base camp they knew this calf needed help and was obviously abandoned and alone. His condition was not good, with very sunken cheeks. Despite the men not being too comfortable about being followed by a baby elephant they left the calf a bucket of water outside the compound. He emptied it instantly, before lying down in an exhausted sleep right there beside their camp and the empty bucket.
By now, nightfall was setting in, and afraid that the calf would fall prey to predators, and having grown fond of their companion the maintenance team looked to be proactive and to initiate help for the calf. They phoned the KWS Community Officer, who, in turn alerted the Trust’s Elephant Keepers based at the Voi Stockades, that a rescue was needed that night. Immediately the Rescue Team set out, equipped with all the usual paraphernalia, and the calf was successfully captured at 7.30 p.m. It was then driven to the Voi Stockades in the back of the Trust's Pickup, where it hungrily took some formula milk and water, and where it was comforted by resident orphans, Kenia and Ndii, who imparted love and assurance, laying their trunks on the back of the newcomer, and rumbling softly to calm it. The calf was a male, very emaciated, and exhausted, obviously having done a lot of walking since being orphaned. Meanwhile, the other orphaned calf from the Mgeno Ranch had already been rescued, and was at the Voi Stockades.
Having spent the night at the Voi Stockades, the yearling orphan named Bomani, the name of the area where he was rescued, was airlifted to the Nairobi Elephant Nursery the following morning (21st July 2012) an event filmed by an NBC team, who were in Nairobi filming the Trust's work presented by Chelsea Clinton. The other orphan rescued that day from Mgeno Ranch was a 2 year old female who remained at the Voi Stockades, and everything that might be needed for her recovery was flown down in the plane that was sent to airlift little Bomani back to the Nursery, as given her age she will be raised in Voi to join our older orphans there. She was called Panda, named after the raised outlook where she was rescued.
Bomani arrived at the Nursery bewildered and agressive towards the Keepers. It was not long though with the comforting rumbles of Tano, little Kithaka and Barsilinga that he soon realised that everyone was here to help him, and in just a few short hours he was taking milk comfortably from the bottle and sucking his keepers fingers. Bomani is an extremely tactile and loving calf, always standing close to his keepers, seeking their attention and love, and very shortly after his arrival it was difficult to comprehend that this loving little elephant had in fact been wild a day before. He was clearly desperate to be rescued and has embraced those who have brought him to safety and offered him a second chance.
There have been a number of elephants poached this past week on the adjacent ranches to Tsavo East, and these two calves are almost certainly poaching victims.