Orphaned baby elephant rescued by plane after collapsing with heat exhaustion

Footage has emerged of a baby elephant suffering from extreme heat exhaustion being rescued.

The orphaned calf was struggling to take more than a few staggering steps when she was found in late 2021 in Kenya and had to be whisked away on a plane to safety.

Kamili was saved during a prolonged dry spell by conservationists heading to another orphan rescue.

Staff from Sheldrick Wildlife Trust spotted the animal lying on the ground in the blistering sun while driving in the country’s largest protected region, the Tsavo Conservation Area.

It is unclear exactly what led to the calf being orphaned, but it is believed her herd was forced to abandon behind when she no longer had the strength to go on.

A rescue team was quickly dispatch to move the youngster into the shade, before the aircraft came to transport her to the capital Nairobi.

Kamili was put on a drip and taken to Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Nairobi Nursery and given water, supplements and fresh greens.

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But she was in such bad shape that experienced caregivers had to look after her for two weeks before she started to make a good recovery.

The executive director of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Rob Brandford, explained: ‘Rapid response decisions undoubtedly saved Kamili’s life.

‘In drought victims, an hour can make the difference between life and death.

‘She is in much better shape than she was at her rescue, still very thin but getting plumper by the day.’

He added: ‘Equally important, she is regaining her spirit.

‘Once distinguishing characteristic which helps her caregivers tell her apart from the other orphans is her expressive eyes and stubby little trunk.’

Kenya’s largest protected area was witnessing a number of animal deaths at the time and elephants were being badly hit.

‘In times of drought, herds must be continually on the move in their search for food and water’, Rob explained.

‘As the impact of malnourishment begins to be felt, mother elephants may struggle to nurse their calves which become weaker and weaker, eventually becoming unable to keep up with the family group.’

Kamili is now growing up among a herd of orphaned elephants at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Nairobi Nursery and she will stay in their care until she is ready to be released back into the wild.

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