When local cattle herders in Sera Community Conservancy heard the cries of a young elephant trapped in a water well, they immediately alerted their conservancy rangers to come and help. Conservation awareness and a sense of pride in wildlife is becoming more and more tangible in the NRT communities - and instances of local people rescuing elephants is become more common. Last month, people in Nakuprat-Gotu clubbed together to dig an old bull out of a muddy water hole.
Sera rangers rushed to lift the young calf out of the well with ropes, assisted by the Kenya Wildlife Service. Knowing there was a good chance his family would return in the evening, they secured the calf to a tree to keep him safe (young elephants are easy prey for lion), and waited with him.
Apart from a few superficial scrapes on his head, the calf was in good spirits - mock charging at the rangers and drinking water right from their hands. They waited with him all day, and as evening fell, the rangers had to face the possibility that the herd might not return. Plan B - he would have to be taken to the elephant orphanage in Nairobi. Just before dusk however, the reassuring rumbles of adult elephants could be heard across the riverbed. Jamie Manuel, who assists NRT in ranger training, enticed the young bull towards the herd with a game of 'catch me'. It worked perfectly. He ran straight towards his elephant family, whose excitement was unmistakable.
Wherever possible, NRT community rangers attempt to reunite lost or trapped young elephants with their herd. This year, there have been several successful instances of this, in both Sera and Namunyak conservancies.