This week, an ex-orphan Elephant surprised her former rescuers by showing up with a new baby.
The new mum, Galana, was rescued back in 2004 by David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT). Galana was believed to be just over a year old when she was discovered alone hiding in thick brush in Tsavo National Park. It’s unclear what happened to her family, but with a pride of Lions nearby, her rescuers believe she was discovered just in time and is lucky to be alive.
She was taken in through the organization’s Orphans’ Project, and continued to recover in their care. Eventually these orphans are gradually reintroduced into the wild and Galana was no exception.
On Saturday, she returned to her former rescuers to show them her first new-born calf. According to DSWT, the baby girl, who was still only hours old, has been named Gawa, which means ‘to share’ in Swahili. The name was chosen because of how the ex-orphans share the joy of their new-borns with their human family.
DSWT wrote in an update:
Imagine the surprise for our Ithumba Keepers when yesterday, at the break of dawn, a new baby born to now wild living orphan Galana was revealed! There they both were, waiting outside the stockades, the baby born just hours before under the cover of darkness.
She was escorted by five wild bulls and our dependent orphans Laragai and Narok were able to be the first nannies to the tiny baby once they left the confines of the night stockades.
Then the ex-orphans arrived and pandemonium broke out! They were so excited and overcome with joy of a new baby in the fold, trumpeting and charging around celebrating. Throughout the day Galana was surrounded by ex-orphans and wild Elephants alike who have taken on the role of nanny to new-born Gawa.
For Elephants as a whole, each new life is worth celebrating and protecting. Recently released reports on their population has brought to light more disheartening news about the losses they’ve continued to suffer. Findings just released from the Great Elephant Census, which is the largest continent-wide census of the population of savannah Elephants, concluded that an estimated 27,000 are being killed year after year. Another study on forest Elephants also found they are declining at an alarming rate.
For more about the Elephant Orphans’ Project, check out the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and find their campaign to stop more from becoming victims of poaching at iworry.org.
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