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Wildlife

Baby elephant rescued by plane after suffering extreme heat exhaustion

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By Jamie Smith via SWNS

This is the dramatic moment an elephant calf suffering from extreme heat exhaustion was rescued and saved.

Conservationists from the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust were driving to attend another orphan rescue when they spotted the animal lying on the ground in the blistering sun.

The Tsavo Conservation Area - the largest protected area in Kenya - was in the grips of a prolonged dry season, in late 2021, and animals were dying.

The orphaned elephant, now named Kamili, couldn’t take more than a few, staggering steps.

A rescue team was dispatched to help shepherd the calf to the shade and a plane was called to transport the calf to the capital, Nairobi.

The calf was put on a drip and taken to Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Nairobi Nursery where water, supplements and fresh greens awaited her.

Kamili's condition was so fragile experienced caregivers spent two weeks looking after the animal before she eventually started to make a good recovery.

Rob Brandford, executive director of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, said: “These rapid response decisions undoubtedly saved Kamili’s life. In drought victims, an hour can make the difference between life and death.

“She is in much better shape than she was at her rescue, still very thin but getting plumper by the day.

“Equally important, she is regaining her spirit. Once distinguishing characteristic which helps her caregivers tell her apart from the other orphans is her expressive eyes and stubby little trunk."

While the exact circumstances that left Kamili orphaned will never be known, it is believed her herd was forced to leave her behind when she no longer had the strength to go on.

Rob explained: “In times of drought, herds must be continually on the move in their search for food and water. As the impact of malnourishment begins to be felt, mother elephants may struggle to nurse their calves which become weaker and weaker, eventually becoming unable to keep up with the family group."

Kamili is now growing up among a herd of orphaned elephants at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Nairobi Nursery and she will stay in their care until she is ready to be released into the wild.

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