This is Ndotto, a new born elephant so young he thought a herd of cows were his family. Rescued from the remote Ndoto Mountains in northern Kenya on Thursday 7th August, the tiny new born and his herd had become entangled in a group of livestock belonging to Samburu community which caused the herd to panic.
Left behind, the youngster (who was just hours old) followed the herders and cows home thinking they were his family and too young to know anything different.
With a fresh umbilical cord and ears still pink and having not yet mastered how to walk, the Samburu community who he accompanied cared for him overnight and the following morning set off on a 24 hour journey by foot down the mountainside to find help.
Due to the remoteness of the location, a helicopter was chartered -– the only means possible to get the baby elephant to the safe haven of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s elephant nursery (DSWT) which specializes in caring for orphaned baby elephants.
“As just one of four special elephant orphans that have ever been transported by helicopter directly to the DSWT’s nursery, upon arrival he was carried off the aircraft. At no more than 50Kg, the Keepers could easily carry him in their outstretched arms before they laid him in blankets in the stockades providing special formula milk and a glucose drip,” says Rob Brandford, director at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
Named “Ndotto” after the place of his rescue, as a new born, he will be given elephant plasma which is vital to trigger his immune system, especially if he had not had a chance to ingest his mother’s milk.
Rob Brandford also says, “Unfortunately, whilst he was cared for by Samburu community, he was fed cow’s milk –- potentially life threatening for elephants who cannot tolerate this type of milk. We’ll do all we can to remedy any side effects and be by his side all the way through the weeks, months and hopefully years to come.”
A rescue mission like this is a huge financial cost and until his reintegration little Ndotto will require full time care and support.