This heart-warming story comes from Olare Motorogi Conservancy in the Maasai Mara in Kenya (January 2020) from our friends at Gamewatchers Safaris. This lost elephant calf was found by rangers all alone but they succeeded in getting it to run 3 kilometres to find its mother.
While out on their routine early morning patrol, the Conservancy rangers came across a young elephant calf of just a few months old wandering around all alone and visibly tired and frightened. It seems the calf must have become separated from its mother and the rest of the herd during the night and was then unable to locate its family due to the tall grass which has grown up after the recent rains.
Baby elephants are entirely dependent on their mothers for the first few months of their lives and it can be extremely dangerous for a calf to become separated from its family as the herd provides safety from predators and a young calf is not able to fend for itself. The rangers therefore knew that they had to get the baby back to his mother for him to be able to survive.
The rangers quickly sprang into action to look for the mother and were able to locate a nearby elephant herd which they believed to be the calf’s family. They then drove back to where they had seen the calf, and turned off the vehicle engine to stay quietly beside him so as to keep him calm and earn his trust. After a while and sensing he was not in any danger, he got accustomed to the patrol vehicle, touching it with his trunk as if to familiarise himself with this strange object and perhaps hoping that it might take him to his mother. And sure enough when the rangers started the car engine and began driving slowly towards the direction of his family, he ran after the vehicle as fast as his legs would take him, running for almost three kilometres.
Once they reached the herd, the rangers stopped at a safe distance, watching as the baby’s mother went to collect her baby, joined by others from the rest of the herd who welcomed back the youngster. The elephant calf was very fortunate to be found and re-united with his family before coming to any harm and the rangers gave him the name Olomunyak which means “Lucky one” in the Maasai language.
This short video clip was provided by Assistant Warden Raphael Kasoe and shows the calf running after the Rangers’ vehicle as they led it to the elephant herd and then being re-united with its family. This was a great way to start 2020 and after the recent heavy rains in the Mara the whole area is lush and green so conditions are excellent for the elephants and all the other wildlife species.