Some exciting news! Jenman East Africa has just adopted an elephant from the infamous David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Our new addition to the Jenman family is called, Orwa. He is an elephant orphan aged 1 year of age, born on 3 December 2010. He was rescued by the trust about 3 months ago when he was found all alone in an area called Orwa, in the South Turkana Game Reserve in Kenya.
Most of the elephants are given names from the places they are rescued. Johan, Ruari and I had the pleasure of meeting him on 29th January in Nairobi. We took the weekend to spend time at the sanctuary to see exactly how things work.
Orwa is thought to have witnessed his mother’s death, murdered for her tusks, and as elephants are such intelligent animals he is clearly still grieving. Said to be getting better everyday, however, it is obvious that he is very hurt from what he has experienced. He spends time away from the rest of the herd (which here, is a group of young orphan elephants) he is always at the back of the line when coming in from his daily wanderings. On a few occasions, refused his milk, once he waited until the rest of his herd had left and he was alone. He does not get involved in games and playing in the water like the others but he seems to be improving day by day.
We learnt that at the sanctuary there are around 28 keepers. All of which spend all their time with the elephants, acting as mothers/carers. They even sleep with them in their huts. This is because no baby elephant would ever find himself alone in the wild, so the keepers take on the role of the family. The orphans are on a rigid schedule of formula every 3 hours (similar to human motherhood) so the keepers are with them all day and night to ensure they get the love, attention and nutrition they need. They wander out in the Nairobi National park by day with all the keepers and then back at 5pm for milk and bed. The keepers rotate regularly, to ensure the elephants get used to more than one keeper, in case any given keeper is on leave and the elephants won’t respond to someone they haven’t met or grown to love.
You can only imagine the costs to ensure each of the 16 orphan elephants (at the moment) have all they need. Human baby formula is required by the truck load, which is not cheap.
You can visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust website at www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org for more info on Orwa or any other orphan at the sanctuary, you can also see Orwa’s rescue which was videoed:
Watch this space for your monthly update on Orwa.
Caitrin BreslinWednesday 8 February 2012