An injured baby elephant has been saved by a heroic rescue team after being caught in on a poacher’s snare and attacked with a spear.
The one-year-old calf, named Simotua, had been left to die in in Kenya’s 15,000 acre Rumuruti Forest earlier this year.
It is believed poachers left him to die after discovering that the young animal lacked the ivory tusks they were after.
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On the mend: Simotua the baby elephant, pictured at the start of his recovery in June, 2015 in Nairobi National Park, had been caught in on a poacher’s snare and attacked with a spear
The one year old elephant was suffering from a large spear wound to his skull and had a deadly snare wrapped around his leg – both of which were potentially life-threatening
After being rescued by the The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) he was driven to the local airstrip where he was met by an expert mobile veterinary team who assessed his injuries before a one-hour-long flight.
Simotua was then flown 230km to the DSWT orphanage in Nairobi National Park where he received round the clock medical treatment.
‘We believe Simotua was attacked by ivory poachers – the snare had cut through the skin and flesh on his leg, cutting down to the bone, which would have made any movement extremely painful and meant he could not walk far for food or water,’ Rob Brandford, is the Executive Director of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (UK), said.
Helping hands: Simotua was discovered by a rescue team in Rumuruti Forest, Kenya with potentially life-threatening injuries
The rescue team remove the deadly poacher’s snare which was wrapped around the elephant’s leg
Saved: The rescue team load the elephant on to a vehicle after finding him alone and injured
Horrific injuries: It is believed Simotua was left to die by evil poachers who found him to lack tusks
‘Without action, he would have quickly starved to death or infection would have set into his wounds, causing a prolonged and painful death.
‘Our team did their best to comfort him through out the process and ensured his wounds were cleaned and treated, packed with green clay, and antibiotics were administered.’
Rob insists that Simotua is making a speedy recovery and has made some new friends at the orphanage.
He said: ‘Two weeks after his rescue, his wound had healed enough to let him venture out of his stockade and walk throughout the forest for the first time, as he gingerly put weight on his damaged leg.
‘He continues to thrive alongside the other infant elephant orphans who are crucial to his healing process – their soft touches with their trunks reassure Simotua that he is in a place of safety.
Happy again: Simotua clearly enjoying his new surroundings in Nairobi National Park, Nairobi
Playtime: The fragile baby elephant quickly made new friends at the orphanage and is now part of the herd
‘More than 90 orphaned elephants that we have rescued are now living a full life back in the wild, and we are confident that Simotua can join them in a few years when he is fully grown.’
Simotua’s attack happened as a result of the illegal ivory trade, which is driven by demand in Asia, and results in an elephant being killed every 15 minutes in Africa.
Charity founder Dr Dame Daphne Sheldrick would like to use World Elephant Day to highlight this malignant problem which blights one of the planet’s gentle giants.
She said: ‘We are at crossroads for the future of wild elephants. We witness the terrible impact of the ivory trade in our work every day, but man-made extinction cannot be the end of this iconic species.
‘As the ivory trade continues to fuel more senseless deaths of these beautiful animals, ultimately, their loss will have an impact on each and every one of us.’