Date of Birth: Thursday 2 January 2014
Where: The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Nursery Nairobi Kenya Africa
Too Cute For Photos, and a video, see Kauro at: The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Orphan’s Project
If anything, since becoming an orphan on the day his mother was taken from him by poachers, this baby elephant has shown resilience.
Discovered inside a well on “the rangeland of the Samburu, Borana and Rendille tribes” Kauro was barely one month old when Sera Rangers, in Northern Kenya, found him trapped and scarred. (Used to water livestock in the “pastoralist community,” the well confined the calf yet failed to conceal him from any animal predators that loomed in the night.)
When pulled from the well one could see the “animal bites” on his little trunk. It also became apparent that the tip of the calf’s trunk was completely gone; “bitten off” perhaps “by a jackal” or another “small predator” who attacked Kauro as he struggled to make his escape from the well that horrible night.
After his rescue, due to the late hour, the tiny calf was stabilized and able to spend the evening at Kisima Hamisin. But early the following morning little Kauro was loaded onto the DSWT Cessna Caravan and with no further delay the orphaned elephant & his carers were Nairobi bound. This hour long flight was taking Kauro to his new home.
Upon his arrival at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s elephant orphanage Kauro, though fraught and fragile because of his health, was no less accepted than any other calf and immediately welcomed into the elephant herd.
And although he towered over most of “the other babies in the Nursery, despite them all being older,” (he was a big boy, yet he was estimated to be as young as “two weeks old”) this didn’t stop enthusiastic elephant greetings by two of the more diminutive orphans, namely, Ashaka and Kamok.
It was obvious, through DSWT’s reluctance to place Kauro in their fostering program, that this baby elephant was in for a long period of convalescence.
First, there were the injuries to his little trunk, which were quite painful to Kauro and then, not long after, he developed a “terribly sore mouth” caused by his trauma from being trapped inside the well. (It seems “he was rubbing against the rough well walls” during his confinement.)
As a final blow “he succumbed to a bad bacterial infection from the effects of being submerged in the water” for the extended length of time he was trapped in the well. But due to his keeper’s diligence and around the clock care (not to mention the antibiotics and the orphaned calf’s hearty acceptance of the bottles he was offered) Kauro pulled through and “slowly his wounds were healed”.
Yet immediately after those health issues were resolved another stage of baby elephant development appeared. When he began the “dreaded teething stage,” after his 6th week in his new home, his carer patiently helped him endure this trying time until finally “his first four molars” came through.
So time and again Kauro bounced back, reclaiming his strength.
Perhaps to carry on for his mama, who was so mercilessly killed or perhaps because of all of the “pampering from tiny Kamok and Ashaka” and all of the other orphaned baby elephants who, along with his human keepers, have provided Kauro a much needed home.
And so it is, in this setting, this new elephant family, that all of his healing began. One can only hope that as Kauro’s journey continues he will embrace that healing, never look back and make his mama proud.
For information on how to Adopt Kauro see: The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Orphan’s Project
See this special message about fostering an elephant for the holiday season from David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
credit: public domain drawing of baby elephant