Mweiga has been in the elephant orphanage in Tsavo since 1998. As a seven months old baby she had lost her mother and the rest of the herd when they had been chased away by local inhabitants, a problem of animal control in an area which had seen an increase of human habitation.
She was a weak little ellie and never managed to catch up partly due to the lack of sufficient and nutritious vegetation a baby elephant needs, in this area which is often plagued by intense and prolonged periods of drought.
When she became a patient she was in a sad state, very thin and barely any muscles to support her, a heart condition had been diagnosed by the vet as well as arthritic problems. The test soon revealed a gigantic systemic candida, all the organs were in trouble and there were huge deficiencies of a number of nutrients.
She soon started picking up weight and strength and her muscles too started to get stronger. Daphne decided to give her on top of the milk she had been kept on since she was a baby, extra supplies of milk replacer 3 times a day and copra, grated coconut. Pretty soon Mweiga started to get well and for the first time she could keep up with rest of the herd and even started climbing Mazenga hill.
Shortly after she joined the other ele's in the mudbath, which she had never dared before for fear of being accidentally thrown over. Sadly enough however, her weight increase went so fast that soon her muscles couldn't cope with it and her condition started to deteriorate again. The tests on her urine/saliva swabs showed that the candida was back and she was having problems with her pancreas.
The milk was stopped but when she got too weak it was started up again. When I visited her in February 2007 most of her excess weight had gone and she was looking somewhat better already.
On my advice she was put on solid food more geared towards her age with extra supplements to help her gain back her strength, the candida was treated and I was hopeful when I left her.
It turned out however to be difficult to find the right kind of food for her in Kenya and soon she was back on the milk because she started losing weight and strength again. It will be a trial and error situation until the right balance in food is found for her.