Adventures in REDD+,  Biodiversity,  Wildlife

Orphan Elephant Rescued at Mgeno Ranch

Rukinga drinking milk 10/4/2012
3-week-old “Rukinga” feeds on milk at the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi 10/4/2012 (Photo Credit: David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust)

While patrolling the sanctuary on September 24th, our rangers discovered an elephant calf lying helplessly near a watering hole. They approached it carefully, unsure of whether the animal was dead or alive. A closer observation revealed that the elephant was only about three weeks old, and possibly abandoned by its family.

Hoping that the calf’s mother was out in search of food nearby and on her way back, the rangers decided to hide out and wait for her return. After about 30 minutes, with no sign of an adult elephant in the vicinity, the rangers determined that the calf had been abandoned.

They alerted Eric, the head ranger, who advised them to relocate the elephant immediately so that it could be taken to Mgeno headquarters, a sub-location of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. They did not waste any time as they tied its limbs together, hoisted it into their land cruiser, and headed toward Mgeno ranch to meet Erick.

Eric contacted Joseph Sauni from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a charity organization based in Tsavo National Park that is dedicated to rescuing and raising orphaned elephants and rhinos. Joseph showed up immediately from Voi with a team of six and transferred the elephant to Mgeno headquarters where it was kept for 24 hours.

Joseph explained that this was not the first time an orphaned elephant had been rescued from Rukinga:

“When an animal like this is abandoned by its mother, chances are high that there is a drought…this can force the mother to abandon its baby because [the infant] it is too weak to proceed with the long journey in search of food and water.”

The animal was then taken to the Voi airstrip where it was airlifted to the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi. Our rangers can rest assured that the animal (which they named “Rukinga!”) is in good hands; it will be fed and babied until it reaches the stage where it can be safely released back into the wild to fend for itself.

Rukinga feeding on milk at the Voi airstrip (Photo Credit: David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust)
Loading the orphan onto the rescue plane (Photo Credit: David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust)
Rukinga follows the keepers closely (Photo Credit: David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust)


Once again we say bravo to our rangers and our friends at the David Shedrick Trust!


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