Pam Solomon via Crowdrise
September 19, 2012
From MKOMAZI NATIONAL PARK, TANZANIA, my good friend, legendary African conservationist Tony Fitzjon, sent this amazing story:
In the late afternoon on Friday, February 17th, our night guard (Ephraim) was woken by a banging on the door and something screeching. The door then was pushed open and in walked a tiny baby elephant, only a couple of weeks old, dehydrated, thin and very distressed. We managed to get him up to our camp and into a stable. We rehydrated him for 48 hours until we were able to get SMA Gold milk powder, the best formula milk for orphaned baby elephants. We immediately set out to look for his mother. Tony flew the aircraft and the National Parks rangers went out on foot and by vehicle. We found no sign of a herd or of a carcass. We will therefore never know what happened to his mother but there are a number of scenarios including death by poaching. With the dramatic upswing of elephant and rhino poaching throughout East Africa, this scenario is quite viable. This slaughter of elephants and rhinos is steadily getting worse as the demand for ivory and rhino horn increases.
We were unable to send him up to a Kenyan elephant orphanage because of the current moratorium on the export of wild animals in Tanzania. But he has done so well here with us in Mkomazi National Park. This is, after all, his natural habitat and we are well placed in the middle of the national park. He is well-cared for 24 hours a day, well-fed and well-exercised. We are all devoted to his care and his eventual rehabilitation back to the wild here in Mkomazi. We are his family and it is a love fest all around.
The baby elephant, who we have named Mr. Brrrr becasue of the adorable low humming sound he makes, is currently drinking 16 litres per day and this will increase to 26 litres per day as he reaches 12 months. He will be milk dependent until he is about 2 years old. After this, he will be slowly weaned. He is about 8 months old at the moment, so we have another 16 months to go.
We are desperate for support for him. It costs us about $1,100 a month to pay for his keepers’ salaries and milk formula.
As a small wildlife conservation charity, we fundraise consistently for our programs of environmental rehabilitation, our endangered species programmes for the African Wild Dog and Black Rhino, our outreach programmes in the villages surrounding the Park and our environmental education program.
Anything you can do to help us with the cost of milk formula for our beautiful Mr. Brrrr would be greatly appreciated.