Henry Mancini composed the classic tune Baby Elephant Walk for the Howard Hawkes film Hatari (1962). Needless to say the baby elephants overshadowed Bwana Wayne and the wet young Martinelli.
In Nairobi I had the chance to visit the David Sheldrick project that shelters and raises orphaned animals.
We arrived just in time to observe the baby elephants being fed and at play!
The baby animals all had individual names and harrowing tales of how they lost their mothers or were abandoned by them. Baby elephants take over 3 years to mature and in that time have to be fed every three hours and need socializing. The biggest female generally becomes the herd leader by default.
After the baby elephants were fed and content and wandered away, the true star of the show raced in – he was a baby rhino, and you could see his double horns just beginning to develop. He was as fractious as a toddler and as frisky too! And he loved the company and did not want to leave and go back to his pen!
Once the animals are fully grown they are sent to a national park with a sizeable population of their species – the elephants usually go to Samburu National Park, the Rhino to Nairobi National park. Then they are kept in pens and often visited by their wild kin. Slowly they are released into the wild, and the program has been very successful at release and rehabilitation of these orphans.
Their one “failure” is Maxwell, a fully grown rhino. He can never be released into the wild as he was born blind!
After visiting the Sheldrick reserve we stopped at a local market and encountered this Masai warrior in full regalia!
He allowed me to take his picture for 200 Kenyan schillings!