It’s amazing that Ishanga is even alive. When she was found caught by a poacher’s snare in the Tsavo West National park, she was thin, dehydrated and bleeding from the wire. She had been by herself for several days. As the de-snaring team approached her she was attacked by a pride of lions drawn by the blood. A lioness grabbed her by the throat and only fled when shots were fired into the air.
She was weak, starving, injured and now terrified. Taken straight to the airstrip, she was flown to the orphanage in Nairobi. She was so traumatised that she refused all milk and water and the rescue team where very worried for her. The next day she finally took some milk but then collapsed, and only dedicated nursing, saline drips and several injections got her back on her feet.
It was decided to introduce her to the other orphans immediately, to let her see and mix with other elephants. Being around a year old she had been used to other elephants and the new company had the desired effect. She immediately settled down and followed the others lead in feeding and playing.
To watch the elephants being fed and Solio having a dustbath please click on the video link.
Now 8 months later she is settled and happy, enjoying her milk (and everybody else’s if she gets the chance..) and causing mischief. We’ll be giving regular updates of her progress as she grows and learns how to be an elephant. We will also follow her as she is eventually relocated back to Tsavo National Park and released back into the wild. It’s going to be a long and dangerous journey but she’s already one of the fortunate ones. Had it not been for the prompt action of the de-snaring team and the expertise of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, she would have been dead a long time ago.
Watching wildlife conservation from a different continent it’s easy to assume that animals in the National Parks are safe. Kenya, with its established parks and wildlife services, is very determined to stamp out poaching. But the truth is that their resources are hopelessly insufficient. At Mount Kenya alone, 26 elephants are known to have been poached already in 2011. What chance do elephants living outside protected parks and reserves have?
As well as following Ishanga, we will be giving updates on the work of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, its orphan programme as well as the other conservation work it does. We will also be following Solio, an 18 month old black rhino, who we’ve also sponsored. More about her soon.