In an unexpected turn of events, the Umani Springs Reintegration Unit recently welcomed a unique addition to its herd – Kapei, a two-year-old elephant whose story unfolded near the southwestern boundary of Tsavo West National Park in Rombo.
Discovered alone and in poor condition, Kapei raised concerns from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and Big Life, hinting at the possibility of an orphaned elephant during the challenging times of drought.
Watch the video at the end.
Rangers diligently monitored Kapei, hoping for the return of his herd. However, after days of solitude, a rescue operation was initiated on September 14 by the Big Life rangers.
Facing the challenge of dealing with a two-year-old elephant, they successfully loaded Kapei onto a vehicle. They transported him to the Ziwani airstrip, where a Cessna caravan awaited from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT).
Due to the fragility of drought victims and diminishing daylight, an unconventional decision was made.
Instead of the usual route to the Nairobi Nursery, Kapei was transported to the Umani Springs Reintegration Unit, aiming to minimize stress and provide a suitable environment for his recovery.
Kapei’s arrival excited the Umani herd, particularly the dedicated Keepers. Umani, traditionally a destination for older orphans, embraced its first ‘new rescue.’
Despite the short notice, experienced Keepers swiftly prepared a welcoming space for Kapei, including soft hay, powdered earth, and abundant greens.
Recognizing the critical state of the young calf, he was immediately put on a drip to replenish fluids and stabilize his condition.
In a heartwarming twist, Lima Lima, who had been away on safari, visited Kapei’s stockade.
Displaying remarkable intuition, she demanded to be let inside, spending precious moments with the new arrival.
After ensuring Kapei had everything he needed, Lima Lima gracefully exited, leaving an indelible mark on the rescue.
Despite Kapei’s initial dire condition – riddled with worms, dangerously dehydrated, and thin – his appetite for greens and pellets, coupled with the nurturing care of the Umani herd, quickly facilitated his recovery.
Led by surrogate mothers Murera, Sonje, and Quanza, Kapei seamlessly integrated into the Kibwezi Forest, creating an inspiring tale of resilience, compassion, and the unbreakable bond these magnificent creatures share.
The Umani Springs Reintegration Unit, known for its dedication to orphaned elephants, now cherishes Kapei as a symbol of hope and new beginnings.
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