On the 15th of March a Tsavo Trust vehicle was driving in Tsavo East National park in an area known as the Triangle, a sector of the Park between the Athi River and the Mombasa Nairobi highway, their mission to retrieve ivory from a carcass sighted from the air earlier in the day.
On their way back they found a tiny baby elephant wandering around on its own near the road. It is difficult to know if the carcass was that of the mother, but it would appear likely given the proximity of the two, despite the fact that the carcass looked a few weeks old. The calf was in an emaciated condition indicating she had been on her own for quite some time before being rescued having been restrained and captured, and then loaded into the landcruiser and brought to the Trust’s Field Headquarters at Kaluku adjacent to the Triangle. (Kaluku is where our aerial support operates from, and where the Trust Pilots live).
It was well after dark by the time the team arrived at Kaluku, and it required many able bodies to off- load the calf, get her back to her feet, and ensure she received some water. The only place available to keep her restrained for the night was in Humpty the hippo’s recently constructed stable. Humpty is an adorable baby hippo who was rescued just before Christmas day, and has since made Kaluku her home. She has a customized pool and fortunately that evening had chosen to remain in her pool for the night, relinquishing her stable for the newcomer. Despite being very thin, the baby elephant still had fight, no doubt bolstered by adrenaline, so not much else could be done for her that night.
One could not help but reflect on the terrifying days and nights she had spent out there before help arrived, alone and vulnerable, fearing for her life, and just how fortunate she was to be sighted. And at first the help she was about to receive must have been terrifying, but elephants are incredibly intelligent animals, and so it would not be long before she would understand that, in fact, she was being helped.