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Dear What A Wonderful,

 

In rescuing orphaned elephants that are only days, weeks or months old, we are privileged to witness and support them through important milestones in their lives; cutting their first teeth, experiencing their first mud bath, taking their first steps towards an independent and wild life. Another, truly significant, milestone for the female orphans we raise was witnessed by us on Sunday 1st September, when we met wild-living orphan Loijuk’s firstborn calf, a little girl whom we named Lili. Demonstrating the love she still holds for her human carers, Loijuk brought her hours old infant (who was still wobbly on her feet) along to our Ithumba Reintegration Unit, inviting Head Keeper Benjamin to meet and interact with her baby. The delightful duo were accompanied by nannies (and fellow wild-living orphans) Naserian and Ithumbah, who will be pivotal to helping first-time mum Loijuk successfully raise Lili. Watch the moment Loijuk brought Lili to meet us.
Lili brings the number of wild-born elephant calves (that we know of) to 31. This new generation of elephants would not be alive today were it not for our Orphans’ Project and our family of global adopters who enable us to provide the tender loving care and expert husbandry these orphaned milk-dependent elephants desperately need, not only to survive, but in order to thrive and return to their birth right one day; the wild, where they can start their own families.



Nairobi Nursery Unit


The newest baby to join our adoption program, little Ziwadi, continues to settle in well at our Nursery, although she suffered from a couple more short seizures during the month. She’s a sweet character who is a little slower than the rest of the herd, so kind mini-matriarch Tamiyoi makes sure to lead the other orphans at an unhurried pace, to ensure Ziwadi and also Luggard can keep up. Dololo, who we saved from near death in 2018, has made a complete recovery and has acquired a new habit of hanging around the milk wheelbarrow after feeds so that he can suck up any spilt or left-over milk with his trunk. His best friend Mukkoka is also very protective over the precious milk formula and yells out at the top of his lungs should any orphan overtake him as they come charging into the feeding area, anxious that he won’t be the last to the bottles.
 
Following some unexpected heavy downpours, blind black rhino Maxwell had a wonderful time rolling about in the muddy quagmire that formed in his stockade, retreating to his covered bed of soft hay when he felt the need for respite. Musiara, Kiombo and Maktao were less enthused by the damp conditions and steadfastly refused to leave the shelter of their stables one morning until the rains had stopped.
 
There was deep sadness during the month, with the loss of our beloved Dupotto who passed away after a long and uphill battle. We had fought hard to heal Dupotto over many years and her passing has been felt deeply by us all. Read more




Ithumba Reintegration Unit


Water and food brings elephants together and, on several mornings, as we laid out a ‘breakfast’ of lucerne supplements for the dependent orphans, we were greeted by our ex-orphans including Olare and Mutara’s herds, as well as Yatta and her burgeoning group which now includes four calves. Numerous wild herds also stopped by, including many old-timers that our Keepers have affectionately named. These visitors included ‘Dad’, who we believe fathered the calves of wild-living orphans Mulika and Yatta, as well as ‘One Tusk’ and ‘Limpy’, the latter being a bull that was once treated by our SWT/KWS Tsavo Mobile Vet Unit for a snare wound and he has returned every year since.

Headstrong Kuishi took a particular liking to one visiting herd and nearly walked out of the compound with them. She was quickly intercepted by the Keepers and, from that day on, Mapia kept a close eye on her, as if to try and dissuade her from walking off with any other herds. Perhaps inspired by their big bull visitors, the younger boys were embroiled in lots of pushing matches and Pare and Mundusi, in particular, spent most mornings continuing a long-running wrestling match. Though Pare is usually crowned the winner, Mundusi hasn’t given up hope yet and starts a new bout each morning with renewed optimism. Read more




Voi Reintegration Unit


We watched a blossoming relationship unfold between Emoli and Ngilai who, having taken Emoli under his wing, seeks him out most mornings to play. This was rather upsetting for Murit whose trunk is firmly out of joint over losing Ngilai, his favourite sparring partner. While Emoli has thrived at Voi since his arrival alongside Tagwa and Sagala in June, Tagwa has been experiencing considerable discomfort of late. One of her tusks is not coming out through the correct tusk pocket, which while not wholly uncommon, has caused a painful sore. So we chose to bring her back to the Nairobi Nursery on 24th August where she can put on condition under closer observation, until she is feeling more comfortable. Having graduated only a few months ago, she stepped off of the transporter truck and waltzed into the Nursery as if she had never left!

With the area around Voi so dry at the moment, some of the milk-dependent babies occasionally bypassed their morning bottles and headed straight for the supplement feeding area, unwilling to risk the slim pickings that might be left if they had their bottles first, while everyone else was eating. Godoma thought her luck was in when she saw the extra bottles left out and our Keepers had to craftily hide them from her, until Mbegu and Sagala had finished eating and were ready for their share of milk. Read more




Umani Springs Reintegration Unit


Lima Lima surprised our Keepers this month when she decided to join Ngasha and Ziwa during their night forays in the wild, perhaps in a bid to keep a watchful eye over them. However, she rarely spends the whole evening outside of the stockades and is usually escorted back by wild herds at some point during the night. Sonje too has been spending more time in the company of wild elephants and has caught the eye of one particular wild bull, who she seems rather taken with. The duo spent a whole day together, with Sonje even forgoing her midday bottle of milk, only to return to her Umani friends in the evening when it was time to head back for bed.

Being the youngest members of the herd, Mwashoti and Alamaya have lots of watchful eyes looking out for them in the form of Murera, Sonje and Lima Lima who do their best to prevent the older boys from giving them a hard time or stealing their milk bottles. When Faraja tried to touch Alamaya’s stump of a tail – something he loathes – it was caring Lima Lima who moved mischievous Faraja away, while Zongoloni and Quanza are always quick to step in should pushing games between Alamaya and Mwashoti become overly boisterous. Read more


 

Must-read news from the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust



Lili is born


In 2006, we rescued a five-month-old orphan elephant who was found in a dried up swamp in Northern Kenya. We named her Loijuk and, in the 14 years since, we’ve watched her heal, flourish and transition to a wild independent life again. More recently, she became a mother, the ultimate affirmation of a job well done in a story that has come full-circle for this loving orphan. Read more



Outcomes for elephants following CITES


There was much at stake for the future of elephants at the 18th CITES wildlife conference in August, including a vote on the international ivory trade and the trade in captive elephants. However, following extensive lobbying by conservation groups, we saw rare victories for elephants, which acted as a reminder that, when we all stand together and speak up for elephants, we cannot be ignored. Read more