In the early morning hours on February 11 Mara Elephant Project received a call from Alfred Bett, warden at Mara Conservancy, that there was a baby elephant in danger and they needed the Karen Blixen Camp Ree Park Safari helicopter to help with a rapid and safe response to the situation.
The previous day, the baby elephant had been spotted by MEP board member and Mara Conservancy CEO Brian Heath. The young female elephant had a snare around her trunk, which is extremely life threatening for many reasons. First, they use their trunk for eating and drinking. Second, this is their main airway, and third, infection could set in with such an open wound. The snare caused a dip cut through her trunk and was deep enough that the young female was actually breathing through the cut.
MEP CEO Marc Goss piloted the helicopter to move the herd of elephants out of the Riverine Forest and into more safe territory to allow the Kenya Wildlife Service/David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust vet, Dr. Limo, to dart her safely. The helicopter helped keep the herd away while the baby elephant’s wounds were attended to.
Unfortunately, Dr. Limo could not help the baby elephant anymore than administering first aid. Everyone involved decided that it was best that the baby be evacuated to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust orphanage in Nairobi for daily monitoring. In Nairobi the elephant would be able to have its trunk reconstructed by a surgeon, which is an extensive surgery that requires around the clock monitoring and feeding.
Mara Conservancy rangers under the watchful eye of Brian Heath and Dr. Limo sent the baby off on an airplane provided by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust from Serena airstrip. They provided drugs and equipment to keep her alive and comfortable during this flight.
After landing in Nairobi, the baby elephant was immediately attended to by Dr. Sanjay, Dr. Dominic Michelle and Dr. Asuka Takita and left in their very capable hands.
The Mara is a magical place, not only because of the abundance of wildlife that we are honored to protect, but because MEP has such wonderful partners that all come together in times of crisis with a passion for the wildlife that matches our own. Mara Elephant Project is nothing without its partners.