An in.jured baby elephant has been saved by a heroic rescue team after being caught in on a poa.cher’s s.nare and at.tacked with a s.pear.
The one-year-old calf, named Simotua, had been left to di.e in Kenya’s 15,000 acres Rumuruti Forest earlier this year.
It is believed poa.chers left him to di.e after discovering that the young animal lacked the ivory tusks they were after.
The one-year-old elephant was suf.fering from a large s.pear wo.und to his s.kull and had a dea.dly s.nare wrapped around his leg – both of which were potentially life-threa.tening.
After being rescued by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT), he was driven to the local airstrip, where he was met by an expert mobile veterinary team who assessed his injuries before a one-hour-long flight.
Simotua has then flown 230km to the DSWT orphanage in Nairobi National Park, where he received round-the-clock me.dical treat.ment.
“We believe Simotua was at.tacked by ivory poa.chers – the s.nare had cut through the skin and flesh on his leg, cutting down to the bone, which would have made any movement extremely pa.inful and meant he could not walk far for food or water,” Rob Brandford, is the Executive Director of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (UK), said.
‘Without action, he would have quickly starved to de.ath, or infection would have set into his wo.unds, causing a prolonged and pa.inful de.ath.
‘Our team did their best to comfort him throughout the process and ensured his wo.unds were cleaned and treated, packed with green clay, and antibiotics were administered.’
Rob insists that Simotua is making a speedy recovery and has made some new friends at the orphanage.
He said: ‘Two weeks after his rescue, his wound had healed enough to let him venture out of his stockade and walk throughout the forest for the first time, as he gingerly put weight on his damaged leg.
‘He continues to thrive alongside the other infant elephant orphans who are crucial to his healing process – their soft touches with their trunks reassure Simotua that he is in a place of safety.
‘More than 90 orphaned elephants that we have rescued are now living a full life back in the wild, and we are confident that Simotua can join them in a few years when he is fully grown.’
Simotua’s at.tack happened due to the illegal ivory trade, which is driven by demand in Asia and results in an elephant being ki.lled every 15 minutes in Africa.
Charity founder Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick wants to use World Elephant Day to highlight this malignant problem that blights one of the planet’s gentle giants.
She said: ‘We are at crossroads for the future of wild elephants. We witness the ter.rible impact of the ivory trade in our work every day, but man-made extinction cannot be the end of this iconic species.
‘As the ivory trade continues to fuel more senseless de.aths of these beautiful animals, ultimately, their loss will have an impact on every one of us.’