On 15th May 2014 Angela was given news about a tiny calf needing to be rescued from the Naibunga Conservancy at Ol Lentille. This was a complicated situation as an elephant had killed a woman from the community and had been shot by KWS as a result. The calf had been left behind in the fracas that ensured with the stampeding herd, and any chance of reconciling her with the herd was impossible given the circumstances. The angry community of Kimanjo had set upon the baby in revenge spearing her several times. When she took refuge in the grounds of a nearby school the children began stoning her. Very swiftly the warden of the Naibunga Conservancy came to the calf’s rescue and kept her safe from the community who were baying for her blood in retaliation for recent events.
While in close communications with KWS who were trying to instill calm to a difficult situation the SWT rescue team were sent from Nairobi departing at 3.00pm from Wilson airport. After a one hour flight they arrived on the Ol Lentille airstrip and were immediately collected by a KWS land cruiser and taken to a nearby village where the calf was.Still the community surrounding the scene remained agitated and determined that the calf should not be rescued and removed from there. KWS along with the Conservancy personnel worked tirelessly trying to instill some understanding. It was a heartbreaking scene for our team to find the calf secured on the floor of a class, stressed, injured from the attacks, and extremely traumatized. Our team set about attending to the tiny baby elephant, all the while communicating with the community trying to explain things while preparing her for the journey back to the safety of the SWT Nursery in Nairobi National Park. She had experienced unimaginable trauma that day, and was extremely lucky to still be alive, all thanks to the swift work of the Naibunga Conservancy warden called Peter. She responded to the tender loving care that she received from our team of keepers and fed well, clearly dehydrated by this time.
Our team continued to have a rough time from the local authorities and community members, eventually they had to sign an agreement because the community was claiming that the calf was county property and they had a right to know where the calf was being taken, all this was creating delays with nightfall fast approaching. Eventually things were resolved.
After the short drive from the village back to the airstrip the team, accompanied by the KWS rangers, were able to safely load the tiny calf onto the waiting rescue plane. It was a huge relief for the all, including the pilot since it was getting so late, to finally have the calf safely on board and leaving behind a very hostile community. It took the team an hour to safely arrive at Wilson airport just before 8.00pm, eventually arriving at the Nursery around 8.45pm. She was placed in a stable next to Ashaka. Keeper Mishak who was in the stable with Ashaka next door looked at the tiny calf and said she must have come from a ‘tiny seed’ as despite having all her teeth already she was by far the smallest of them all. Seed in Swahili is Mbegu. It seemed like an enchanting name for a very sweet and beautiful baby, a baby who escaped death by some miracle. Her wounds were cleaned and treated while many of the Nursery elephants sensed her arrival and began bellowing and this comforted her enormously hearing the familiar elephant sounds.
Mbegu has settled extremely well, loves the other orphans who love her too, but more than that she is hooked on her Keepers, never forgetting the love and tenderness they have shown her. Her wounds took some time to heal, but thanks to the power of the green clay all the sepsis disappeared and she has made a full recovery.
Mbegu is a perfect little treasure, incredibly playful and full on nonsense, and given her tender age has bounced back from her emotional scarring very quickly and is now totally at home in her new environment and is genuinely happy. We would like to thank all those who worked so hard to save her precious life under extremely challenging circumstances.