Date of Birth: Friday 12 August 2012
Age on Arrival: 14 months old
Orphaned Because of: Poaching
with the Partially Independent Orphans
This baby elephant is growing up!
See Rorogoi: Growing Up Ele : her Orphan Profile, Photos & a video at: The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT)
For more photos see Rorogoi’s own photo gallery
If there ever was a baby elephant that had the determination and strong will to survive it was this tiny calf. For without protection from above, and from an amazing human on whose farm she would soon wander, there would be no possible way for this still milk-dependent orphaned elephant to have been discovered alive. Just how Rorogoi arrived on Steven Muinde’s “elephant friendly 20 acre farm in Kwale County” will be forever unknown. But the plucky little elephant, on her own for over a month, not only survived the ordeal of her journey (without her mother & elephant herd) she had the ability to keep herself hidden and out of “harm’s way”.
It must have almost seemed like heaven to have arrived on Mr. Muinde’s farm. For she would soon discover that the land was lush with “green vegetation” and that there was ample water to be found (recent rains had given the baby elephant “water for drinking” & this contributed heavily to Rorogoi’s survival). There was even a “small swamp for mud wallowing” surrounded by patchy areas of shrubs and trees for hiding from the dangers all around. (It was not unknown that “the Duruma tribe in this region is extremely partial to elephant meat”, so the miracle that is this little elephant’s life continued to astound the humans who would come to her rescue.)
After the Kinango KWS was alerted to the presence of the orphaned elephant by the kind farm owner, Rorogoi’s rescue had begun. (As she was “found in Kwale district closer to the coast than Tsavo” her name became Rorogoi.) Darkness had already set in on the 9th of October 2013 when “the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Faru anti poaching team along with armed KWS rangers” arrived to search for Rorogoi.
But they were unable to find the baby elephant so they had to regroup and set out again at daybreak. (This would not be the first time the curious little elephant would have to be rounded up and brought back to safety. Maybe she was just trying to find her mama and her lost elephant family.) The dawning of 10th of October was met with success in capturing the baby African elephant and from the looks of her it was none too soon.
Rorogoi was quite “emaciated, very thin” and had a fear of her rescuers that would remain for more than a few days. And though the airlift to the DSWT’s Nairobi Nursery was uneventful her adjustment to the new life before her would be “rather fraught”. There were many times that, in the blink of an eye the cute as a button elephant (& fearless of a solitary adventure), would take off into the vast forest of the Nairobi Park adjoining the DSWT elephant sanctuary and send her keepers into another “Rorogoi Rescue” as they would launch an immediate search for her (she was still quite small and “vulnerable to predators” & also unable to find her way back).
(Just imagining this little elephant with her distinctive grand African elephant ears flapping in the breeze as she was scurrying away into the bushlands is indeed a priceless picture.)
But little Rorogoi soon got into a routine at her new home among the other orphaned baby elephants. (And yes, that did include her little escapades of “escaping from her Keepers”. Though as her anxiety toward humans slowly subsided so did her solitary sojourns.) And as she did soon after her arrival, she took to her bottle feedings and was, for the most part, a good little elephant, (she did have her naughty moments like some of the others!)
As she is growing up ele she has become more “robust” and just loves the companionship she has found amongst her new elephant family. And with her keepers continuing to provide her with all the love (attention) & nourishment she needs little Rorogoi has become quite attached to them as well.
To be continued: ROROGOI : Elephant of the Week at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust : Growing Up Ele : Part 2
For YouTube video of Rorogoi’s Rescue see dswtkenya here
For another sweet photo of Rorogoi & photos of some of her elephant friends at DSWT not too long ago (you may also recognize some of these baby elephants as they have been featured on this elephant blog : Elephant Spoken Here !): see The Daily Mail
Featured drawing elephant painting credit: Shades of Grey by Gwenn Seemel Creative Commons Flickr