Heartbreaking to witness yet another baby elephant orphaned as a result of the rife ivory poaching in Northern Kenya. A distressing moment for the wildlife rangers, Kenya Wildlife Service vets and ranch managers as they darted the baby, and then watched as the herd surrounded him sensing danger, before the mother had to be shot. A moment of sheer accuracy and skill that has to be timed so perfectly so that she doesn’t fall and crush her calf.
Days earlier she had suffered a lethal gunshot wound from a failed poaching attempt, that shattered her shoulder leaving her distressed and immobile. Tropic Air’s Cessna Caravan airlifted the baby to Reteti Elephant Sanctuary (R.E.S.C.U.E) in Samburu, where he will now be cared for and integrated into the nursery herd, and one day in the future, released back into the wild.
Anti-poaching incidences in Northern Kenya is coordinated by 51 Degrees – a rapid response team that was set up in 2012 by partners in conservation, with support from Kenya Police Reservists.
Photos by Chad Rochford Drayton