In the expansive terrain of Tsavo East National Park, a small elephant calf named Kiasa she embarked on a remarkable journey, transitioning from the arid landscapes of the park to the caring embrace of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT).
The tale unfolded when DSWT pilot Neville Sheldrick spotted a unique sight during a routine patrol flight over the Southern sector of Tsavo East. A tiny elephant calf was seen with two giant bull elephants.
Watch the video at the end.
Intrigued and concerned, Sheldrick recalled a recent sighting of a deceased female elephant in the same area, a victim of the harsh effects of drought.
Recognizing the potential danger, Sheldrick promptly reported the unusual trio to the Kenya Wildlife Service and the DSWT Kaluku operations room.
The DSWT helicopter, under the command of Andy Payne, was dispatched for further investigation.
Confirming that the calf was indeed an orphan cared for by the compassionate bulls, a rescue mission was set in motion.
Coordinating with KWS Veterinary Officer Dr. Jeremiah Poghon, the DSWT team prepared to rescue the orphaned calf.
At five to six months old, it was evident that without maternal care, she faced an uncertain fate.
Dr. Poghon was flown to the closest airstrip, and the Mtito Desnaring team was directed to the location.
The rescue unfolded seamlessly, with the helicopter gently separating the bulls from the calf. The ground team swiftly approached, securing the little elephant.
With legs tied for security, Kiasa was loaded into the helicopter and flown directly to the DSWT Nairobi Nursery.
Upon arrival, Kiasa’s immediate needs were addressed. Thirsty and exhausted, she eagerly drank water and milk, finding comfort in the presence of her rescuers.
Placed in a stable next to other orphans, including Maktao, Kiasa began her healing journey.
Kiasa ventured out with the other orphans the following day, though she remained distant – a typical behavior among orphans mourning their lost elephant families.
DSWT’s human caretakers played a crucial role, offering attention, love, and tactile care during this period of grief.
Over time, Kiasa’s physical and emotional well-being improved. Thriving in the care of DSWT, she grew more robust and more confident.
Her interactions with the group became more comfortable, and she found joy in playful mud baths, even delighting in playfully spraying visitors.
Kiasa’s journey is a testament to the resilience of orphaned elephants and the compassionate efforts of organizations like DSWT.
As she continues to heal and grow, Kiasa stands as a symbol of hope and the transformative power of human empathy in the face of wildlife challenges.
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