The elephant funeral (our earlier post “Mourning” ) was a completely heartbreaking experience.
Our first act on getting home that day, was to call The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi to report the tragedy. We were told that they had already been called in to rescue the orphaned calf and the team were on their way to the Mara. They also requested us not to talk about the rescue just then. A lot of calves don’t survive the initial few weeks after their mothers die. The DSWT announces them for adoption and introduces them to public viewing only after they have settled in and their chances of survival are not so fragile anymore.
This morning we were thrilled to wake up to this news …
We were hoping that the mother elephant died of natural causes. But we are not surprised to learn that this is another case of poaching. What is of even greater concern is that this herd was in or very near a conservancy when this horrific crime was perpetrated.
While the sense of misery and helplessness remains, there is also deep gratitude that people in the world care enough to rescue these orphans and give them a second chance. And that they do not do this for profit.
The DSWT does incredible work towards rescuing orphaned elephant calves, hand rearing them till the age of three or four and then slowly reintegrating them with wild herds. This gives them a fighting chance to return to their natural environment and life style. During this long battle, for each calf, the staff work, literally day and night, year long. Bottle feeding the babies every three hours. Sleeping with the babies all night, every night. Ensuring medical aid when needed. Giving them more love than can be imagined. This last is what, we believe, brings back so many of these orphans from the brink of death. For elephants do die of grief.
The rescue of Roi and her brethren kindles hope – for animals that have been condemned to death by barbaric humans. And for the collective conscience of the human race too.