A baby elephant was luc.ky to escape after being left orphaned in the wild.
Vulnerable and alone, the keepers must race against time to protect and move the baby elephant.
Heartbreaking images show the baby elephant – now known as Naleku – being rescued and now adjusting to life in Nairobi Nursery, Kenya, with a herd of orphaned cubs.
Rob Brandford, Chief Executive of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, said: “At the beginning of the year, our orphaned calves welcomed a new member – a six-month-old orphan whose mother has pa.ssed a.way after an i.ll.ness.
“Lonely, vul.nerable to pre.dators, and des.perately in need of br.east milk, time was of the essence to get her baby to safety before the pre.dators got to her first.
“With permission from the Kenya Wildlife Service, the decision was made to rescue the approximately six-month-old calf who simply could not have sur.vived without br.east milk or protection from pre.dators.
“A plane flew directly onto the Mara North Conservancy runway about thirty minutes away from the calf, and after being transported to the scene, the calf was kept safe. The team prepared her for the journey in the back of a ground cruiser to the airport and the next flight to Nairobi.
“The baby was sedated to keep her stress levels under control and wasted no time because it was really the last light of the day.”
Though wary of the keepers at first, Naleku is settling in very well.
Rob added: “Thankfully, it didn’t take her long to latch on to the bottle once she knew where the milk was coming from, and she was happy to br.eastfeed.
“Although she was still very tired of the breeders, her desire for milk overcame her fear when she developed a d.ick stretch to get her milk.
“She also enjoyed the freshly cut greenery that hung in her barn, but despite being well-fed, the horrors of the ordeal struck her, and it was a very restless night for everyone.
“She was desperate for elephant company, so we introduced her to the rest of the orphaned elephant herd, which she found extremely comforting, crowded with so many beloved little mothers.
“We knew other orphans who have been through similar experiences which will use magic to soothe and comfort this young child – and rightfully so.
“Since then, she’s been amazingly settled and certainly has no shortage of admiration for the responsive little moms who surround her and take care of her every whim.”