Amid December’s celebration at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, an air of excitement surrounded the departure of three older Nursery orphans—Rapa, Pare, and Maramoja—embarking on a transformative journey to the Trust’s rehabilitation unit in Ithumba.
Following in the footsteps of their companions, Sapalan, Namalok, and Kauro, these young elephants are taking the next crucial step toward a life in the wild.
Watch the video at the end.
They move the orphans after the rains ensure favorable conditions, transforming Ithumba into a lush haven resembling a bountiful garden with full waterholes and abundant food.
This relocation is a vital aspect of their development, providing the opportunity to learn from older elephants and wild companions, ultimately preparing them for life in the wild.
In preparation for the move, the orphans underwent training to familiarize themselves with entering the elephant moving truck.
Rapa, Pare, and Maramoja, much to the delight of their keepers, exhibited comfort within the truck compartments, sometimes choosing to remain inside for extended periods during training.
On the loading day, December 16, the process began exceptionally early, with Pare and Rapa confidently leading the way into the truck, closely followed by Maramoja.
The early start facilitated a smooth journey, with minimal traffic, allowing the team to reach Ithumba at 8:00 am.
The new arrivals were warmly welcomed by their friends at Ithumba, and the seamless adaptation of Rapa, Pare, and Maramoja was notable, thanks to the reassuring communication from their companions who had made the journey earlier.
The Ithumba mud bath became a stage for a heartwarming welcome, creating a lively atmosphere.
Amidst the joy, another significant decision was made for eight-year-old Shukuru, who was brought back to Nairobi to address chronic health issues related to recurring blood parasite problems.
Shukuru’s trusting entry into the elephant moving truck reflected the deep bond and understanding between the orphans and their dedicated human caretakers.
As the sun set on that eventful day, Rapa, Pare, and Maramoja embraced the beginning of a chapter filled with growth, camaraderie, and the promise of a wild and free life.
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust continues its unwavering commitment to these elephants’ holistic well-being and successful rehabilitation, nurturing them until they are ready for the ultimate step—a life in the wild.
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