Name Origin/Meaning: Maktao was named after the’Makatao Base’ within the Tsavo West National Park where the elephant calf was first brought to safety.
Date of Birth*: 21 July 2017, a Friday
*DSWT orphaned elephants are assigned approximate birth dates as there is no way of knowing the actual day they were born.
Age When Rescued: 3 months
Where Now: The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust now known as Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Nursery Nairobi Kenya Africa
Foster this Sweet Elephant
Too Cute For Photos: see “Maktao’s Latest Photos” at DSWT Maktao featured photo gallery
Location of Rescue: Within the Tsavo West National Park, “the eastern boundary”, near the ‘Makatao Base’ of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS)
Elephant Became Orphaned Because of: human wildlife conflict aka human elephant conflict
Situation Surrounding Orphaned Elephant’s Discovery: Little Maktao was first spotted alone on 20 July 2017 then again the following morning. As the area was rife with human elephant conflict the urgency for securing this rescue was high. Humans living in the surrounding communities were always on the lookout for “crop raiding elephants” and this put our orphaned calf, Maktao, in grave danger.
Insights into Orphan’s Elephant Herd: No elephant herds were even seen (at the time of Maktao’s rescue) in this “hostile” elephant territory that has notoriously been the battleground for far too much human elephant conflict.
Condition of Orphaned Elephant When Rescued: Quite dehydrated, yet ‘perky”. His skin appeared overly dry & crinkly. Overall, the baby bull elephant seemed to be in relatively “good condition,” he even took to “following people” as if seeking out their help.
After first being offered h2o out of a plastic bottle (from pilot Andy Payne), the elephant calf drank “copious” amounts of water (while on the tarmac, waiting to be transported ), though his real hunger was for his elephant mother’s milk which he had not ingested for a number of days. As the rescue team hadn’t brought “the correct milk formula” the baby elephant would have to wait just a little bit longer for that (until his arrival, a one hour flight, to the DSWT elephant orphanage).
Lifesaving Measures Taken: hydration with water
Transportation & Baby Elephant Prep.: DSWT helicopter. Our sweet baby elephant was swaddled in a blanket then laid “onto his side” ensuring that his little elephant “feet could be securely strapped” for flight. Maktao was then “cocooned in a canvas stretcher” with another blanket over his eyes to encourage sleep during the flight (which he did as the drone from the helicopter engine worked its magic. A comforting human, in the form of DSWT staff Neville Sheldrick, also ensured a peaceful flight…well, most of it.)
For Complete Story see Maktao‘s Orphan Profile:
Note: “Maktao’s Story” is also source of all quotations in this post.
Upon Arrival at the DSWT Nursery: As time is of essence with any baby elephant rescue, the transport by helicopter ensured a “door to door delivery”, right from the rescue location to the helicopter’s door to the orphan’s “freshly prepared stable”. DSWT Keepers were ready with an IV drip for the famished orphaned calf while they prepared fresh baby elephant milk formula . All of this would “contribute hugely” to little Maktao’s “quick rebound back to perfect health”.
What Makes This Sweet Elephant Unique: Maktao had a notion to follow his rescue pilot, Andy Payne, all the way along the “airstrip” right up to the helicopter’s door. This little elephant has always known what he wants and has never been shy in letting humans know he needs their help.
To be continued: MAKTAO : Elephant of the Week at the Sheldrick WildlifeTrust : Too Cute : Part 2
Credit: public domain drawing of baby elephant