Following a Big Life aerial patrol over Eselengei, our Radio Room was notified about an abandoned juvenile elephant that was clearly having difficulty walking. After discussion between the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), and Big Life, it was agreed that the little elephant should be sedated and transported by plane to the SWT orphanage in Nairobi rather than be left to fend for himself.
The calf was closely monitored on foot by rangers from Eselengei Conservancy and Big Life, and despite being alone, dehydrated, and injured, the two-and-a-half-year-old calf stood defiantly in a grove of thick thorny scrub, using the last of his internal water reserves to keep cool under a punishingly hot sun. Even after being darted, he remained resilient, until he eventually was drowsy enough to be put on his side and lifted into the back of a ranger vehicle. A Boskovic Air Charter came to pick him up from the Big Life airstrip next to headquarters.
After a smooth transfer, the calf arrived without any issues at the orphanage in Nairobi, where he will be treated and properly cared for. The operation was a success, and it is again thanks to the effective cooperation between all three wildlife organizations that this little elephant was spared from a far more uncertain fate.
Photos: Josh Clay