February Update –
Nursery:- The month saw two new arrivals to the Nairobi Nursery, one a yearling calf rescued from Southern Tsavo West National Park near the Ziwani Sisal Estate canal, named Ziwani, who had been savagely mutilated, suffering severe machete and spear wounds inflicted by Masai tribesmen illegally grazing their cattle in the Park. One ear was almost cut into two, and two punctures around the hind quarters were very deep, restricting movement in one back leg. Multiple others did not seem life threatening at first, but in fact one on the side of her body had pierced the stomach cavity, and we lost her to peritonitis two weeks later.
The suffering of this tragic little orphan was very painful to have to witness, particularly as her multiple wounds needed so much intervention to try and control the sepsis. She put up a spirited struggle for a life which should have spanned 3 score years and ten but was cut brutally short by the savage cruelty of people who usually enjoy a more caring reputation. Certainly no such word can describe the men responsible for Ziwanis deliberate and cruel mutilation. To read more details about Ziwani please access this link: http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/updates/updates.asp?ID=188
The next Nursery new arrival was another well victim from the Amboseli ecosystem, extracted from a fairly shallow but very jagged rocky well which serves the Masai cattle in the area below the second highest peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro. She was saved by the Amboseli Researchers assisted by two (more compassionate) Masai elders. We named the newcomer Mawenzi and apart from severe bruising on her back which might result in necrotic tissue, she is not in bad physical shape, and has settled into the Nursery crowd very well.
Kenia has taken on the role of Infant Mini Matriarch, and is a very caring and proficient one at that, while Lesanju shares the role of overall Matriarch with both Sinya and Lempaute. Wasessa remains somewhat aloof, and still suspicious of all strange humans, while Taveta is inclined to throw his weight around the others to assert his authority and badly needs the input of an older bull, which he will surely get in the fullness of time. Shimba is his usual mellow self, the best friend of both Mzima and Siria while Dida still adores little Kimana and also shares with Kenia the caring of all those younger. Suguta is a forceful little character and she and Ndii often fight over who they perceive as having more attention from the Keepers, as they both get extremely jealous of their attention.
Thank you for visiting and checking in on this precious baby girls progress. This beautiful watercolour was a gift from the Opranage for Christmas ’08.
Here is the link to Sujuta’s Rescue page at the Opranage – I warn you the photos are very hard to view. When they rescued her, she was very low on weight and greatly dehydrated, but her resuce is truly a testiment to the keepers persistence and her sheer determination to carry on.
And 2.5weeks after that, WE met and I fell in love.
Many of you know the story ssssoooo i won’t bore you with it again….hahaha
-when i receive my monthly updates from the opranage, i will post here.
1/15/2009 12:00:31 PM
Please find below December’s update on the Orphans’ Project. Due to the delays involved in receiving the reports and images from the field, our monthly fostering updates are sent a couple of weeks into the following month. This way we have the time to receive the material and upload all the Keepers Diaries onto the website before sending out our monthly update to all our foster parents. It is important to note that this is an overview summary only, and to read more about your specific fostered orphan, along with the Keeper’s daily entries, and photographs from the three units, please click on the link to the Keepers Diary which can be found at the end of this monthly overview written by Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick. Please remember to look up December 2008 and not 2009!
December was a month of highs and lows, the lows being that we had to bury two new orphans who came into the Nursery too far gone for us to be able to save. One was from Loisaba Ranch in Laikipia whom we called Lomolo, who had been without his poached mother for too long, and who had also been mauled by hyenas. Emaciated from milk deprivation, plus the pain and sepsis of his wounds, grieving for his lost family and the trauma of capture proved too much for him to bear, and he died soon after arrival at the Nursery. More about his story and rescue photographs can be viewed by clicking on this link: http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/updates/updates.asp?ID=181
The next casualty was a calf from the Kimana area of the Amboseli ecosystem, who had also been without his mothers milk far too long, and who was in a coma when the rescue plane arrived to collect him. Despite drip life support inserted in an ear vein on site, he never regained consciousness and died during that night.
Aside from this, it has been a happy month for the Nursery elephants. Rain in November brought temporary joy, but fell far short of expectations, so by the end of December the vegetation, and Nairobi Park was parched. With the next rains not due until Easter, we are in for a tough few months, especially as this is the hottest time of the year in Nairobi.
A High of the month was the survival so far of the minute baby rhino named Maalim, born and sadly abandoned by his mother in Tsavo West National Park. Upon arrival he weighed just 25 kilos and stood about 8 inches high, which is short of what a healthy rhino baby should be at birth, so we think he could be premature. However, he is gaining strength and because of his size, has become the star attraction at the Nairobi Nursery.
Maalim’s profile can be accessed through this link: http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/asp/orphan_profile.asp?N=191
Maxwell the Rhino is in good health, and fortunately we have had no recent health scares from him. Being blind he remains in his dark world but ever aware of Shida’s (our much older rhino) comings and goings, and Shida remains a regular visitor coming back to his stockade adjacent to Maxwell’s daily. Neither of our older orphaned rhinos have met little Maalim yet, but are of course aware of his scent in the area. Shida regularly meets up with wild friends to enjoy the salt lick on the rocks in front of the Nursery together, and has successfully integrated into the Nairobi National Park wild rhino community.
The Tsavo orphans provided a High for the month with the birth of Emilys first wild-born baby. Emily is the first Nairobi Nursery reared orphan (reared from the age of just 1 month) to have a healthy wild-born calf, (Malaika, who was also Nursery reared, having died in childbirth when she was unable to give birth to a large bull calf lying breach in the birth canal). Emily brought her baby back to the Stockades for her human family to share in her joy, and that of the team of her satellites, all the little orphan Nannies who were diligently mothering the new arrival, led by Edie. (Lissa, Mpenzi and the original Matriarch, Eleanor, have all had wild-born babies, but were of an age to avoid the Nairobi Nursery, and grew up at the Voi Rehabilitation Centre). The rains were far better in Tsavo, so December was a very happy month for our orphans. So far, Aitong whom we believe must also now be mother to a wild-born calf as well as Natumis group have not been seen since November, but no doubt will turn up when the dry season really takes hold. To eve photographs of Emily’s new baby called Eve please click on this link: http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/updates/updates.asp?ID=182
The High for the Ithumba orphans at the Northern Rehabilitation Centre was the fact that there the rain was more plentiful. Natural depressions filled with fresh water; there were mudwallows at every turn, and everywhere vegetation was lush and plentiful. The wild herds, released from the anchorage of permanent water, undertook their annual walk-about to visit friends and families further afield and our older Keeper Independent orphans also spent time away, but remained within reach to keep in regular touch with the Keeper dependent group. Rapsu and Challa upgraded themselves, for the first time spending time with Yattas Independent Group rather than spending nights as Youngsters in their Night Stockade, while Tomboi and Wendi did the reverse, deciding to take time out from their travels with the Senior Group and enjoy a quieter and more relaxing few days as Juniors with the Keeper Dependent youngsters. By the end of the month Rapsu had opted to be a Senior.
The Low for Ithumba was the day Napasha returned with a poisoned arrow embedded in his cheek on Boxing Day. We were enjoying a short break at the Coast at the time, but naturally, were immediately alerted. We in turn alerted KWS, and a Field Force Unit was immediately dispatched from Voi to try and follow up the perpetrators. Without sedation Napasha allowed the Keepers to extract the arrow head, which demonstrates the trust he holds for his human family, for the arrow had penetrated about 3 inches. He was then kept under surveillance for a few days, with a Vet on standby in Nairobi, but fortunately suffered no ill affects from the poison, apart from a sore face. After a few days he was eager to be out and about again with the other older elephants in Yattas group. More photographs of Napasha can be viewed in the Keepers Diary.
Please find a link to the The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s December Keeper’s Diary should you want to keep abreast with your fostered elephant SUGUTA