Ishanga's Story

On Wednesday, the 17th November, we received a call from our Ziwani desnaring team leader, Nicodemus, about an orphaned elephant calf that the team, along with KWS rangers, had rescued. The Ziwani team operates in the southern sector of Tsavo West National Park, and in recent months this area has experienced an increase in elephant poaching. Recently we have received a number of orphans from this area, Makireti, Murka, Salaita and now our most recent arrival Ishanga. We named her Ishanga, after the area where she was found. (Another name for the area more commonly known as Maktau.)

Ishanga's Story

Ishanga was rescued literally from the jaws of death. Not only was her condition very poor, as she had obviously been without Mum for many days, but just as the team who had sighted her all alone during a routine patrol, circled to capture her, a lion leapt out of the undergrowth and grabbed the vulnerable elephant baby by the neck. This most unexpected twist to the rescue caused enormous panic, and in the scramble the KWS ranger managed to fire gun shots into the air, and very fortunately the lion let go of its prey.

The calf was now injured and paralyzed by fear, so the team members (themselves pretty shaken) were able to restrain her quite easily having ensured the encircling lions were now a safe distance away.

She was driven to the Maktau airstrip in the Ziwani antipoaching team landrover, where the team waited with the baby until the rescue plane and Nairobi Keepers landed. She was immediately prepared for the flight and after an hour plane ride brought straight to the Nairobi Nursery.

Initially she was extremely wild and certainly did not let anyone close, not even to take water or milk. But with gentle and tender company throughout the night she succumbed to her hunger and eventually took both milk and water by bottle from the Keeper in the early morning hours of the next day. As is so often the case with starvation victims, once she started taking in food she collapsed in a shivering state, and that familiar dread crept over us all as we wondered whether the events of the past week had proved too much for her. But after injections of Selenium, Vitamin B12 and being on an intravenous drip for two hours she eventually struggled back to her feet much to everyone’s delight. That afternoon, despite being so weak, we bought the other orphans to her stockade and they enveloped her with love that fueled a Will to Live. She left the confines of the stockades following them into the bush, and instinctively the orphans knew not to venture too far afield. This whole experience seemed to do the trick. The next morning she joined the group, and even ventured to the midday mudbath, and despite the visiting public, for that hour surrounded by the others she seemed totally calm.

With her wounds now healed Ishanga is one of the greediest babies we have, insatiable for milk. She has worked out the milk routine and literally climbs into the wheel barrow carrying the 3 hourly milk rations in an attempt to get her bottles first. She is desperately thin, and despite her many new Nursery friends she still misses her lost family terribly. She suffers from nightmares, but we feel sure that with the passage of time she will learn to find true happiness again thanks to the love and attention from her Keepers and the other Nursery orphans. Fate truly intervened in Ishanga’s case; her destiny is to live a full and happy life.

Adopt Ishanga for yourself or as a gift for a loved one.

Important Note: Thank you for adopting and being part of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust family. It is important to note that your donation will help any orphan in need. Our orphans will need more than one adoptive parent.

Adopt Ishanga for yourself or as a gift for a loved one.

Important Note: Thank you for adopting and being part of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust family. It is important to note that your donation will help any orphan in need. Our orphans will need more than one adoptive parent.

Current age

9 years old

Gender

Female

Rescued date

17 November 2010

Rescue Location

Tsavo Ecosystem, Tsavo West NP

Date of Birth (approximate)

10 November 2009

Reason Orphaned

Poaching

Age at Rescue

1 year old (approx)

Current Location

Living Wild

Ishanga's featured photos

Our digital adoption programme includes the following:

Personalised adoption certificate.

Monthly email update on your orphan and the project.

Monthly water colour by Angela Sheldrick.

Access to special content; latest Keepers' Diaries, videos and photos

Give Ishanga the gift of life by adopting today.

Ishanga's Latest Updates

Updates: Graduating to Ithumba; Makireti, Ishanga and Kasigau

Read more

Updates: The Rescue of Ololoo

Read more

Updates: The Rescue of Ishanga

Read more

Ishanga's Latest Photos

Ishanga

Ishanga

Ishanga, Gawa and Galana

Teleki, Nasalot and Ishanga

Ishanga, Wiva and Chyulu

Barsilinga playing with Ishanga

Orwa plays with Ishanga

Ex Orphan Ishanga