By Hannah Stevens @Hannahshewans
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Videographer / Director: David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
Producer: Hannah Stevens, Ellie Winstanley
Editor: Jack Stevens
Luckily The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) stepped in after a call from a Big Life Foundation ranger who had spotted the calf wandering the Narraengolo area within the Amboseli-Chyulu ecosystem.
Rob Brandford, Executive Director of The DSWT said: “This area falls within Masai Community group ranches which form the corridor between Amboseli National Park and the Chyulu Hills National Park.
“Thankfully community conservation efforts have been embraced within this area, and generally speaking, wildlife is able to cohabit peacefully with the pastoral communities.
“However, from time to time there is human-wildlife conflict and retribution spearing of elephants can happen in these instances.
“The reasons for Esampu losing her family remains unclear, but it is possible it is as a result of human wildlife conflict in the area.”
When the calf was discovered she had clearly not eaten for several days and was extremely dehydrated and emaciated, so she was offered milk and rehydration fluids before having a drip for the 45 minute flight back to Nairobi.
Named Esampu - a Maa name for light and shade as well as the name of the area she was rescued from - the orphaned elephant was guided into a warm stable at DSWT’s elephant orphanage in Nairobi National Park, Kenya to rest.
With attentive carers watching over her, she swiftly settled in and began to feed on the plentiful greens on offer before settling down for a hard-earned sleep.
Rob Brandford added: “We managed to stabilise her condition and stomach during the early days in the Nursery and once her strength improved she was able to join the baby herd out in the forest, along with new best friends Tamiyoi and Pare.
“Esampu has been a revelation. With her happy disposition she has settled fast, and has fed well both on milk and greens, and as a result her condition has improved extremely quickly.”
“She loves the company of the other elephants, and relishes playing with her new human family too.”
Feisty Esampu has since made herself at home at the orphanage and even started trying to sneak more milk from her fellow infants during feeding time.
Brandford said: “She became so disruptive that we have kept her back so that now she is fed last, with the older orphans, which means that she can’t steal more milk.
“But that hasn’t completely stopped her! She’s taken to accosting our keeper who carries the wheelbarrow full of milk now, not letting him pass and bellowing for milk!
“Each elephant has their own personality and Esampu is certainly a feisty little girl, who can sometimes be a bit grumpy and a little cheeky.
“But whilst she keeps our keepers on their toes, Esampu’s ‘greediness’ is actually a good thing; it shows she’s in full - and rude - health and steadily putting on weight.”
Esampu has overcome the grief of losing her family and is now thriving amongst her fellow elephants. She will stay at the DSWT’s Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi National Park until she turns three when she will be moved to one of DSWT’s three Reintegration Units in the Greater Tsavo Area.
Rob Brandford said: “It’s a long journey ahead, one that can take up to ten years from rescue to reintegration as orphans rely on their carers less and less, and ultimately, choose to make the transition back to a wild life.
“As a feisty character, we think Esampu will be very protective of her herd and family once she’s fully grown and, after all she has been through, we can’t wait to see her one day having her own wild born family and the future she deserves.”