A baby elephant that has been stuck in a water trough inside Arabuko-Sokoke forest in Kilifi has been rescued.
It was rescued by a multi-agency team composing of Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Kenya Forest Service (KFS) rangers, and community scouts.
The baby elephant had gone with its mother and other elephants to drink water when it slipped into the only permanent water trough that is near the swamp and got stuck.
Members of the community living adjacent to the forest near the swamp which is drying due to drought saw the incident and alerted KWS officials who responded swiftly and managed to rescue the baby safely.
The operation to rescue the baby elephant was led by Arabuko Sokoke forest Warden Ntindi Kassim who said they received a phone call from the Community member around 6 am.
“We immediately mobilized officers from KWS, KFS, and Community scouts of Friends of Arabuko Sokoke Forest and upon reaching the swamp we found the baby elephant struggling inside the water trough,” he said in an interview.
He told the press that rescue mission took one and a half hours before they managed to reunite the calf with her mother.
The officer said the elephants had come for water but accidentally the baby elephant slipped in the water trough.
During the operation, she said they were able to remove the mother away from the trough using their vehicles and used their manpower to remove the calf from the trough safely.
“We were able to reunite the baby elephant with the mother after we checked and found the baby elephant was healthy, she could run to where the mother was.
The rescue she said was made possible due to the multi-agency cooperation that they have and the relationship they have with the community living adjacent to the forest as they were able to mobilize the team and do the operation swiftly.
The warden said currently there is a challenge at Arabuko due to the ongoing drought as water points within the forest are dry and elephants depend on the water point which is artificial and permanent all year round.
“Currently we receive big numbers of elephants coming for water at this water point which is a challenge but we are in the process of addressing it so that we can get an alternative water point within the forest to serve the elephants,” she said.
She said there are also currently issues of human-wildlife conflicts in the peripheries of the efforts because of the drought.
Ms Kassim said there is a corridor where elephants could move from Tsavo and to date they still come up to the fence of Arabuko due to the drought which often leads to conflicts.
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She urged the public to report to the nearest KWS office whenever they spot elephants within their homesteads so that they are pushed back to Tsavo to save the community from injuries or death and also to save the wildlife.
Arabuko Sokoke forest is the second largest coastal forest in East Africa and covers 420 kilometers square.
she said that as per the data they have in 2016 was 350 to 400 elephants but soon they will get the exact number after the census was done.
For the last five years, she said they have not had any mortality in the forest from poaching or natural death due to the efforts being done to conserve the forest.
She said this is the second incident of a baby elephant slipping in the water trough with the last incident reported in 2016 where the baby was also rescued.