Daring Rescue Mission: Uniting Forces to Save Injured Elephant and Calf from Muddy Trap

In a remarkable display of teamwork and determination, multiple vehicles and aircraft joined forces to rescue an injured elephant and its calf from a problematic situation in Kenya.

The rescue operation, spearheaded by the Sheldrick Trust’s Aerial Unit, took place on July 24th, and it involved several aircraft, ground transports, and a dedicated group of individuals.

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The mission had two critical objectives: locating an elephant calf with a severely swollen and limping leg in Tsavo East and rescuing a bull elephant trapped in thick mud near a spring in Amboseli.


Despite challenging weather conditions caused by strong winds across the region, the team successfully located the injured calf, thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Wildlife Works.

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Two aircraft were deployed, allowing them to cover a larger area and pinpoint the calf’s location after an hour of searching.

However, their plans to treat the injured calf had to be temporarily postponed. An urgent call came in about the bull elephant stuck in the muddy swamp, and the team swiftly shifted their focus to this life-saving operation.


It was a grueling task as the rangers from the Kenya Wildlife Service initially struggled to free the elephant from the muck, but they persevered.

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Heavy-duty straps and vehicles proved ineffective due to the steep terrain and the risk of dragging the elephant further into the swamp.

With determination, the team called for additional support. Two Land Cruisers and a KWS tractor worked together to reposition the elephant.


They even cleared a path by removing obstacles, ensuring a safer rescue operation. After several attempts, the team successfully pulled the elephant to safety.

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The rescue was not without its challenges, as the elephant, in distress, tried to grab at the rangers and tug at the straps.

However, the team’s resilience and cooperation paid off, and the elephant was finally freed from the mud, offering immense relief to all involved.


With the bull elephant out of danger, the focus turned back to the injured calf, located over 100 miles away.

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The team wasted no time and decided to attempt treatment while daylight was still available.

A helicopter from SWT flew to meet Dr. Kariuki, who was en route in one of their fixed-wing aircraft.


The calf was successfully darted, examined, and treated before reuniting with its family as the sunset.

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While the calf’s prognosis remained uncertain due to a potential fracture and severe joint infection, every effort was made to ensure its survival.

The team will closely monitor its progress in the coming weeks, with the vet ready to administer further treatment if necessary.


This remarkable rescue mission would not have been possible without the invaluable assistance of the Kenya Wildlife Service and Wildlife Works.

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The dedication and unwavering efforts of all involved teams provided a ray of hope and a second chance at life for these two majestic creatures.

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