Saturday, January 19, 2013

In the News: Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage

‎'The Miracle that is Murera' 
is a testament to the superior care of the most iconic 
orphan sanctuary in the world, 

This is another heart-warming story from the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya.  I have written about the work they do to save and reintroduce elephants back into the wild in Tsavo National Park in November 2012,  July 2012, and about my visit in January 13, 2011.

When I was in Africa in 2011, I visited the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi – a wonderful compassionate place for orphaned elephant babies and youngsters that are rehabilitated to be released into the wild into an established herd in Tsavo East National ParkKenya.  I visited an adjacent park, Amboseli, on my safari and experienced for the first time elephants in the wild, big herds of adults, youngsters and babies – a precious sight to see.

Today's story describes the rescue and incredible rehabilitation of a 2 year old baby elephant Murera found with wounds and incredible pain, and the courage and victory - beating the incredible odds against her.


Miracle MURERA. She came to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trusts Nursery wracked with pain and few believed she would ever heal and lead a normal life again.

A man called Piers Winkworth made it his business to rescue this calf who had been observed in a desperate state in Meru National Park for some time. He called the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and forwarded photographs of her to ensure that she was able to be rescued, for she was clearly over two years old already with ivory showing through her top lip. Having sought KWS permission, our team now on the ground in Meru National Park, she was captured and airlifted to Nairobi arriving 8.00pm at night on the 21st of February 2012.

Her limb swollen and painful

Murera, her face etched in wrinkled pain  Murera

The next day the extent of her agony and wounds was all too evident. With heavy hearts it was hard to believe that there would be a happy outcome, her hind legs terribly damaged, one broken and the other suppurating with poisoned wounds. Her forehead was etched in wrinkled pain, and her body constantly contorted to give some relief from the trauma felt throughout her hind quarters.

For the Keepers to be on MURERA duty over the weeks and months was torturous, for no-one liked to have to witness her discomfort without the ability to offer her respite from it. The vets gave her little chance of recovery, but we believed in time - for over the years we have learnt about the incredible healing powers of elephants.

  Murera squatting to releive the pain

And so it was slowly, slowly, MURERA worked towards rebuilding her life. For months she remained solo in the forest browsing with little Orwa as company and her Keepers close at hand. Her pain was still evident for all to see and her back limb swollen and useless. The foot with the poisoned spike wounds healed over time thanks to the Green Clay applied daily and diligently.

Weeks turned into many months and with the help of turmeric in every milk feed the inflammation and swelling subsided, and her mobility began to come back. Still by July she needed to squat frequently to relieve the pain, and this was now four months later. But it was evident that MURERA was a very special elephant indeed, not that we needed further proof of this for her fighting spirit and courage had touched many peoples hearts by now, but she slowly emerged from her self inflicted isolation to fraternize with the Nursery orphans, with a special friend in SONJE, and this was the moment that we all realized that the struggle to heal MURERA had not been in vain.
We knew we had won the struggle when Murera began to play  Murera serene and healed

The useless hind limb that for so many months she had just dragged behind her could now be used in a viable way, and her hollow cheeks began to fill as her condition returned, and best of all she began to play. Six months after this broken elephant arrived at our Nursery there was clear evidence that MURERA was indeed going to live a normal and one day wild life once more.

She began to take charge of the unit as the oldest elephant in the Nursery and even began to nurture the young babies. Ten months in our care now and her movement continues to improve and MURERA is pain free. She is a dignified, serene, and above all heroic elephant who has had to live through unspeakable agony at the hands of man. Yet she has been able to rebuild her life thanks to the second chance she was given by those compassionate people who initiated her rescue, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Keepers who have tenderly treated her through such difficult times sometimes almost too hard to witness, and a global public who have fostered MURERA throughout the year providing the vital financial support needed for her care.

She has shown her gratitude over and over again through her exuberance for life having beaten the odds. We marvel daily at the Miracle that is MURERA.

Murera able to nuture the small babies and give them the loving motherly figure they so crave  The miracle that is Murera

Latest Updates on MURERA:

To foster MURERA please click here.
Til next time,