Mbirikani's Story

On the 29th June 2009, a Big Life ranger team in the Chyulu area were alerted about a calf with a cable snare on the foot, unable to walk properly and clearly in distress. They in turn immediately contacted KWS and the Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit funded by The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. The Unit’s Vet Dr. Poghon travelled to the Chyulus in order to administer immediate assistance.

Mbirikani's Story

The female calf was approximately 3 – 4 years old, and her right front foot very swollen, and walking was extremely painful for her, so this was most probably why she could not possibly keep up with her herd. The reason for this horrendous injury was a cable snare taught around the foot. She was darted, the snare was cut away, and then the team set about the gory task of cleaning out the maggots and pus, and giving her huge doses of antibiotic.

It was clear that the wound was in need of ongoing treatment, and this compromised calf, on her own, was very vulnerable. The decision was made for the calf to be transported to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Voi stockades, here Dr. Poghon could continue to give her treatment and monitor her condition, and she would be in the company of the Voi Orphans ensuring that she has the best possible care, and company. She was transported the long journey on a bed of hay in the back of the Ol Donyo Lodge pickup.

The grueling journey took 8 hours with KWS vet Dr. Poghorn nursing her throughout. She was sedated, enough to take the edge off the stress of both the operation and trip. On arrival at the other end the presence of the concerned Voi elephant orphans provided her with great comfort and we are pleased to report that a week down the line she is doing well, feeding well and has settled into her new environment. Most importantly the horrendous wound on her foot is healing well.

We thank the Big Life team headed by Richard Bonham and all those involved who helped rescue this calf from a slow and agonizing death. We have called her Mbirikani, after the group ranch where she was found and rescued.

Adopt Mbirikani for yourself or as a gift.

Adopt Mbirikani for yourself or as a gift.

Current Age

14 years old



Rescued date

29 June 2013

Rescue Location

Tsavo Ecosystem, Chyulu Hills

Date of Birth (approximate)

13 December 2009

Reason Orphaned


Age at Rescue

3 years old (approx)

Current Location

Living Wild

Mbirikani's featured photos

Our digital adoption programme includes the following:

Personalised adoption certificate.

Monthly email update on your orphan and the project.

Monthly watercolour by Angela Sheldrick.

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

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