07 January 2015

Rescuing Roi ~ Orphan Masai Mara Elephant Calf

NatGeo's Paul Steyn shares story of rescuing Roi...
"One day last October, a mother elephant and her ten month old calf were seen playing together on the plains of the Masai Mara National Reserve when a passing tourist photographed the tranquil scene. Twenty-four hours later, on October 22, the young calf was spotted again -- this time standing over her mother's poisoned carcass, seemingly reluctant to leave her side. [...] Deprived of sustenance, the young elephant would soon weaken in the heat of the day, fall behind the herd, and likely die on the plains. [...] After carefully maneuvering [...] they isolated [and] wrapped the traumatized baby in warm blankets and hoisted her into the bed of the four-by-four and rushed her to the Mara airstrip. [...] Ensuring that the orphans feel like part of a herd -- a family -- is extremely important, along with constant touch and attention from the keepers who feed and nurse them on their road to recovery. [Roi] was immediately comfortable and content among the older orphans, who gave her the attention and love she needed. [She] will live among the Nairobi herd until the age of three, when she'll be moved to one of the [rehab] centers in the Tsavo national parks. There, she'll be weaned off milk and reintroduced to wild elephants in the area. It can take as long as ten years for an orphan to choose to leave her adopted family and rejoin a wild herd."

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