Amali: The Resilient Elephant of Umani Springs

In Swahili, the name Amali signifies ‘hope,’ a fitting moniker for a young elephant who has triumphed over adversity.

Amali, a small yet tenacious elephant, now finds herself among a unique family of orphans, thriving and growing under the care of Umani Springs.

In 2022, the Tsavo ecosystem, like many regions in Kenya, grappled with a severe drought. Food scarcity heavily affected the elephants, particularly the vulnerable young calves.

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Their mothers struggled to find sustenance so they couldn’t provide enough milk for their offspring.

Consequently, when a calf grew too weak to keep pace with the herd, their family faced the heart-wrenching choice of leaving them behind.

On October 14, during a patrol of Rukinga Ranch, Wildlife Works encountered a lone elephant calf. Despite hours of waiting in the hope of her family’s return, none appeared.

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By this time, the calf’s condition had deteriorated significantly, a victim of malnutrition and dehydration exacerbated by the drought.

Prompt action was imperative to save her life. Wildlife Works coordinated with the Kaluku Operations Room and Dr. Limo from the SWT/KWS Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit for immediate assistance.

Amidst the rescue operation, a group of local high school students on a field trip witnessed the efforts firsthand, a potential inspiration for future conservationists.

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Rescuing a larger orphan presents unique challenges. Amali, lying weak, was carefully transported to the Maungu airstrip and then flown to the Kibwezi Forest.

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Due to her age and the limited resources at the Nairobi Nursery, she found a new home at the Umani Springs Reintegration Unit, where new fences have been constructed to accommodate the growing number of rescued elephants.

Upon her arrival, Amali was greeted by eager companions at Umani Springs, including fellow drought survivor Kapei.

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While her weak condition initially prevented her from joining the others in the forest, she gradually recovered under shelter, eventually venturing out to explore her new surroundings.

Quanza and Kiasa quickly embraced Amali as their companion, sharing a fence and forging new bonds.

Despite her challenging beginnings, Amali is thriving, gaining weight, and symbolizing hope amidst adversity at Umani Springs.

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