Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Lenana came to the Trust's nursery when she was already 14 months old. Daphne Sheldrick was notified that a elephant calf was seen next to her dead mother. The mother had already been spotted a few days earlier and was obviously not well. From that moment the mother was kept under surveillance by patrols to assess the situation. The mothers condition was however far worse that initially was thought and when she died it was unexpected and already quite late in the day. Too late to launch a rescue to save the calf, so that night an armed patrolman kept watch over the dead mother and her calf to prevent any predators from taking this easy prey. Lenana was grief stricken and tried all night to get her mother to get up again.

The next morning the rescue plane flew in and although she was very scared of the keepers and initially very aggressive towards them, her hunger was stronger and by the end of the afternoon she took her first bottle of milk. With the help and comfort of the other orphans she soon calmed down. The depression she fell into, something all the orphans go through at the beginning as a result of the trauma and grief over having lost their mothers, was very severe and for months Lenana stood quietly apart from the other elephants lost in her mourning. The other orphans kept trying to coax her to participate in games and were very loving and tried to comfort her all the time.

Her test results at the beginning were very bad but very slowly her physical condition got better and she started to respond to the other orphans, but the real turn around came when Kenze was brought to the nursery. She felt he was in need of comfort and loving after his traumatic separation from his family that was killed by poachers in front of his eyes and she reached out to him. They have since been inseparable and both Lenana and Kenze are doing just fine.

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