Craig McFarlane was conducting routine training with the Elewana guides in Shaba National Reserve. Having gone to bed late, he was unable to sleep as he could hear a herd of elephants not far from the camp. From the sounds they were making, he could tell something was wrong.
At first light, he gathered the guides and went to investigate. They found a young male elephant, aged approximately a year and a half, wedged between the forks of two tree branches.
The little guy had probably thought it looked like the perfect place to scratch his tummy. But climbing through the two branches, he became well and truly stuck and couldn’t move forward or backwards to free himself.
His mother, the matriarch of the herd, had stayed by his side all night, unable to do anything but stand guard and protect her little one. She would not allow McFarlane or the guides to get near, so they had to call for reinforcements.
The Kenya Wildlife Service and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy arrived swiftly and working together, the team was able to free the little guy.
By maneuvering his helicopter, Mike Watson from Lewa Wildlife Conservancy was able to move the mother about 500 meters away in order for the team to gain safe access to the calf.
After he was freed, the young elephant ran off in the opposite direction from his mother. However, Watson and his chopper guided the little elephant and his mother back together, reuniting them safely.
Over the two days that followed, McFarlane sent the guides out to see if they could locate the herd and make sure all was well. Yet after searching the area for hours at a time, they couldn’t find the little elephant or his herd.
In one way, that’s a good sign, as it seems the herd wanted to find somewhere quiet after the commotion of the rescue. The calf was a tough little guy and maybe one day he and his herd will return to the area again.
A huge thanks to all those that helped get this little elephant out of a tight spot!Elephant Rescue, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Shaba National Reserve