To new beginnings and endings


Alexandra Mutungi, National Intern

Date Published

As we get into the intense part of the drought there is a deep longing for the rains to commence. It would be amazing for the Samburu wildlife, not to mention greatly reduce the conflict between the Samburu and Turkana. Save the elephants is not just about getting data for research, a lot of compassion goes into the work done. When news broke out that Kueyaso passed away under unfortunate circumstances, there was a hue and cry among the local conservationists who knew him. Infamous poacher, hijacker among other IDs could add to his CV. Hue and cry for him? You might ask, but he had changed his ways and became a conservationist contributing a great deal towards protecting wildlife. May he rest in peace.

On the other hand, Rothko, a member of the Artists2 family gave birth to a calf. It came as a pleasant surprise as the news was announced a few hours after we had been out for the Long Term Monitoring. We had not realised she had been pregnant. Yet after 22months of gestation one should be able to see some differences right?…Or maybe not. Elephants are capable of giving birth even after they have surpassed the age of 60 years. Take for example, Babylon, matriarch from the Biblical Towns group who is 60 years and recently gave birth to a calf too! Amazing! But sometimes life in the wild doesn’t always go as planned. A 2 week old elephant calf was rescued just on the outskirts of the Samburu National Reserve. The age was determined based on his relatively small size, amount of body hair, the pinkness of his eyes and the back of his ears. He had somehow gotten lost from his herd and is suspected to have been wandering about for a day. Young elephant calves such as him make good prey for big cats and we have observed a good number around lately so it is safe to say he was saved in the nick of time. Loboito; meaning “lonely” in Kisamburu, was brought to camp by some good samaritans. On arrival he was looking to quench his thirst. The curious little fellow was roaming around trying to get a feel of his new environment with his unsteady trunk. He was also attempting to suckle when he got close to people. We at camp were just as delighted to have him around and stroked him all over just as a mother would do to her calf. Water was provided for little Loboito and he clumsily went down on all fours to drink. In no time, The David Sheldrick orphanage had their aircraft here ready to take Loboito, to Nairobi for further care over the years to come, estimated to be around 14 years. According to past experiences from the staff here at Save The Elephants, calves are difficult to get into a sleeping position once loaded onto the aircraft, well, not Loboito. All the running around must have tired him out. As soon as a blanket was laid on top of him, he was out cold; also with a little help from a sedative. What a heart-warming experience. Perhaps our paths will meet again under better circumstances and kudos to all parties involved in saving the elephant!