FIVE (5) Elephants Murdered, 1 Baby Orphaned ( Monday, July 27, 2015 - Kenya)
At approximately 7.00 pm on 27th July, gunshots rang out in the darkness across Tsavo West. The incident was reported to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), who responded promptly at first light the following morning. The DSWT was contacted to support the extensive operation in southern Tsavo West National Park by flying in a KWS tracker dog from Ngulia rhino sanctuary and providing further ground support from our Chyulu Anti-Poaching Team.
The lifeless corpses of five slain elephants, with their ivory missing, lay strewn within fifty metres of each other. Security teams from KWS, DSWT and Big Life were deployed both in the air and on the ground with the tracker dogs available to support the ground efforts. By the evening of 28th the first of the poachers was arrested, and to date 3 have been apprehended for the crime, with operations ongoing.
On the morning of 29th July another tiny victim from this ghastly incident was found alive - a young elephant calf of approximately six to seven months old. He was rescued by KWS and Big Life teams, then driven to Ziwani airfield while the DSWT mobilised Keepers and a rescue plane from Nairobi to collect the calf to fly him back to our Nairobi Nursery. Surprisingly, despite his ordeal of having witnessed his whole family gunned down at the hands of humans, he has been friendly from the outset, needy of company and attention and clearly grateful to have been saved. After his terrifying 38 hours he has responded immediately to the company of the other orphans in our care, not wanting to leave their sides since arrival. We have called him Losoito, after the name of the hill close to where he was found.
We will do all in our power to help Losoito overcome his harrowing ordeal, for it is impossible to imagine the emotional trauma he has endured in witnessing the murder of 5 members of his family. All killed to satisfy a demand for ivory from people that wish to display and wear something that only has real value to an elephant. We talk of an elephant being killed every 15 minutes for its ivory, a shocking statistic, yet in this tragic incident, 5 elephants were killed in a minute!
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