Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Elephants – Back to the Wild | Part 1 – The Orphanage of Elephants | Free Documentary Nature

Kenya is one of the most beautiful countries in africa it's the land of elephants and still a land of poachers a baby elephant is standing beside its mother who's been seriously injured she's been lying here for at least a day in the masai mara national reserve in the south west of the country.

The mother was shot by a poacher her hind legs are paralyzed she can't stand up and she'll die if the baby stays with its mother it too will die alone in the wild it doesn't stand a chance it has to be rescued the little elephant is flown from the masaimara to nairobi.

There's only one place in all of east africa where it can get help kenya's elephant orphanage here calves whose mothers have been killed by ivory hunters are reared by hand some are just a few weeks old when they arrive many are sick and traumatized in the orphanage at the edge of the.

Nairobi national park they can start a new life wow so one year later and the little girl elephant from the masai mara is still alive and doing well she's living with 20 other young animals at the nursery just outside the kenyan.

Capital nairobi they're looked after by more than 40 keepers the elephant nursery belongs to the david sheldrick wildlife trust a non-profit organization that works to protect endangered species in kenya the little elephant is now two years old.

Her name is olari each elephant in the nursery is named after the place where it was found well she has a she has really developed a lot compared to the way she came in she was she was more aggressive more wild because her rescue was very traumatic.

she was totally not friendly at all to the keepers she was old enough to remember everything about nine months and at that age they can remember what.

Goes around their lives and that is why at the moment oops no larry no don't do that so she's really changed a lot she's become a good elephant social elephant to the others and to the keepers.

But not very social with the strangers she's not very comfortable with the with the people she doesn't know when the orphans reach the age of two they have to leave the nursery and are returned to the wild until then they spend the daytime with their keepers in the nairobi national park so they can get to know their.

Natural environment olari is now one of the oldest and most experienced females in the group the youngest elephant at the nursery at the moment is shokuru she's just three months old and is very attached to olari most of the time you'll see her with the little ones trying to exchange.

Put her trunk in their mouth or the little ones putting their trunk in her mouth that is one way of elephants communication so they are trying to talk we can't know what they are talking but that tells they are talking and they are doing something.

foreign olari may be two years old but she's still a small child and much too young to be looking after the little ones all the time no no no no the role of mother is played by the keepers.

See her the way she's closing her eyes then she's feeling comfortable she's alright that is why she's closing the thank eyes.

the relationship between the keepers and the elephants is a child to a mother because the elephants respect and would listen to the keepers and the world respond to the keepers as their mothers they'll always want to be close to the.

Keepers because they believe in case of any danger the keepers will protect them that is why if they're scared by something somewhere they'll always run towards the keepers you see them always wanting to suck the fingers of the keepers just like a human child would do sucking his or her own.

Fingers or holding on the mother's body somewhere where he or she likes most so that tells the the relationship the attachment that is there between the keepers and the elephants okay.

when it gets cool in the evening the keepers cover the youngest elephants in blankets in the wild they'd snuggle up to their mothers for warmth taking a role of the mother means that.

You have to be mother and tick them what they don't know most behaviors in elephants are instinct and so as human mothers we need to direct them for example cut some greens and put in their tongue.

And then you'll see them directing these leaves to the mouth slowly they learn what they'll need to know for their future in the wild so the daily routine in the nursery is determined by the feeding times.

Until the age of two elephants only drink milk the orphans are given the bottle every three hours it's a mix of water powdered milk and vegetable fat the nursery's founder daphne sheldrick has been looking after orphaned.

Elephants for more than 40 years she devised the formula in the 1970s it took a long time to actually understand what milk we had to use and that the problem was the fat and the nearest thing to the fat in elephant's milk is actually coconut so coconut is very important in the diet.

Of an elephant it has the correct fat it's thanks to this formula that it became possible to hand rear baby elephants shortly before dusk the orphans come home from the park to the nursery they each have their own stall where they spend the night shokuru has only been here for a few.

Weeks daphne sheldrick does the rounds every evening to see how all her babies are doing and gives little shakuro special attention she was just three days old when she was rescued she was too young to actually understand because like newborn human infants.

Little elephants that are less than about a month old don't really have much comprehension so in some ways they're easier to rear because they don't have the psychological trauma that the older ones have you know that understand more shukuru should really be asleep by now.

But the unfamiliar noises and voices are keeping her awake the babies aren't left alone in their stalls they each have a keeper who keeps them company and helps them get to sleep how about that.

when night falls it becomes very peaceful at the nursery only little shakuru can't fall asleep she and her keeper are in for a long restless night yes the orphans also get the bottle.

Every three hours during the night so.

the day begins at 6 00 am when night falls again a different keeper will keep shukura company the idea is to prevent the infants from becoming too attached to just one person the head keeper edwin luciki and daphne sheldrick meet every morning and review the detailed diaries that are kept about.

Each of their animals now let me see if we should do it again or do and it's not two weeks yet no so we might have to do her again yeah she's feeling all right she doesn't have any and she's still still on medication little elephants are essentially very very fragile and they can be fine.

One day and dead the next so this is where you know you have to keep very close um supervision of how they're feeding whether they're playing or if they feel dull or you know to to be able to assess if things might be going wrong because elephants are very human animals and these all infants.

At any age they duplicate a human so you know you have to remember that they're still all babies i mean they're all under two years old which is the equivalent of a human of the same age the babies leave the compound every morning to visit their playground the nairobi national park which is right in.

Front of the door it's kenya's smallest nature reserve covering just 117 square kilometers it's home to about 80 species of mammals and just a fence separates the park from the capital city the nairobi national park was established in 1946 and is one of the oldest nature reserves in africa.

But it's too small for elephants to live in permanently the only ones here are the baby orphans from the nursery of the david sheldrick wildlife trust on their daily walks they get to know the terrain and the other animals living here.

okay their outings are also about learning to become independent it's a much of taking them out in the bush and staying away from them staying behind and see how they behave.

That is what we do if they're not really used to saying by themselves we go take them somewhere and leave them stay away and if they come working to us we move and go to a different direction because we want them to be by themselves slowly by slowly they learn to be dependent they stop coming to us.

And they try to become more courageous to be on their own definitely.

there's a lot to learn and it's a slow process it begins at the nursery and will end with the elephant's return to the wild that won't be here in the nairobi national park but in a much larger nature reserve.

the most difficult thing for them is to find a heart who will adopt them because they have been used to a different type of life a life of staying with human mothers a life of being provided with milk a life of being protected by human mothers but now they have to change.

And stay a natural life which instinctively is in them but uh before they are adopted in the wild families who will train them to do everything it will take some time hallelujah for three of the orphans the time has almost come for them to be transferred to a rehabilitation center in a large.

National park where they'll be ready for a life without humans one of the three is dida edwin and the other keepers are very fond of her you want to cool as a character she's a very soft elephant she's a very calm elephant.

She's a very polite elephant and she's actually listens she listens to the keepers and she's not naughty she's not a bully and she's not greedy for power because she's meant to be the media but she's she's just left it to the others to take.

On she has to leave because she's attained an age where she should go back into the world and be adopted by a wild family who will train her on how to become a wild elephant she's two and a half years old and we always take them to serve when they're between two and three years.

So she has attained that age of starting the process of reintroduction back into the world dida is set to begin her new life in just two weeks time she'll have to leave her home her companions and her daily routine.

But right now the group is heading towards home for lunch they stop at a watering hole near the nursery compound they spend an hour there drinking milk and bathing in the mud uh.

Uh it just got several reasons first of all it's playing they enjoy doing it they love it they do a lot of exercise secondly it cools them when it's too hot and also they need this layer of the mud on the body to protect them from insect bites and such like things and also on how to behave to stay with all the.

Others as a group it is like social learning behavior but one of the infants doesn't join in the fun shokuru the youngest in the group well because she's she's still tired she's still young and as you know the little kids always.

Want the close to be to the mother the tension and the care of the mother and when they grow up a little bit they want to start to learn to be independent and that's when they start to go out away from their from their parents so that is what she's doing it's not that uh she doesn't want to join them but she's.

Just young and it's it's it's important that she stays with the keepers more than the others you know sometimes uh when the others are going out they want to play out there rolling on each other mounting on each other she won't sustain that after half an hour romping in the mud.

It's time to go back to the park they'll spend the rest of the day out in the bush one week later the young set off for the park in the morning as usual but back at the nursery something special is going on.

the keepers are making preparations for moving the three elephants who are to be returned to the wild to tsavo national park they'll have to go there in the back of a truck we are doing all this because the elephants are not used to getting into a.

Truck so that's why we are putting this hay here which has been in their stables last night it has got all that down so once they come on smelling on this they'll smell their dung and they'll realize there's nothing bad.

Then they can easily walk in as they walk in they might realize it's a little bit dark and a little bit small and so when they realize their leaves hanging in then they think maybe there's something like a park or they're still in the bush or they're in their stables where they spend the night so they will not be scared they will accept to get in.

They lure the three into the truck with milk at first that seems to do the trick with two of them good yeah but then they get agitated.

the one who flatly refused to get on board was the usually placid dida so the venture had to be called off for today she has already since there's something coming although she doesn't know what is the future what is coming just after this she already knows there's something.

And that's why she doesn't want to go in the truck maybe it's because she's been in the nursery for a long time she's seen many come and go into the trucks and don't come back one morning so she can tell something is going on she can sense maybe one day when she goes in that.

Track she'll never come back that's why she's afraid of going in because she does she doesn't know what is going to happen next but one week from now dida will have to do as she's told and board the truck that will take her to the tsavo national park savo is about 300 kilometers southeast.

Of nairobi it's home to more than 11 000 elephants more than anywhere else in kenya the park covers 21 000 square kilometers and consists mainly of semi-arid grasslands and savannah with stretches of acacia woodlands it's an excellent place to return the orphaned elephants to the wild.

The rehabilitation center of the david sheldrick wildlife trust is in the south of the tsavo national park it's where elephants are prepared for release deeda and the other two coming from nairobi will live with older orphaned elephants they've been here for a year or two or.

Even longer and know their way around they also go out for daily walks with their keepers family joseph sonny is in charge of the center he's overseen the release of many elephants.

The idea is simple they learn as they explore the park and they meet wild elephants who will eventually accept them into their herds the process can take several years when they leave nairobi the orphans have to separate from the keepers who raised them in savo they have to adapt to new people.

Who will prepare them for an independent life in nature the infants might be sad but the staff at the rehabilitation center try to compensate for the loss they don't miss them because uh we give them just the same love they will have gotten from their mom so that's why they're coming to us.

I want to be stroked and all that so they get that love that they had missed from their mama huh again.

one more week and the three newcomers will be here ready to embark on their new life back in nairobi the day proceeds as usual with a walk in the park only little shokura was a bit under the weather.

She's tired and isn't drinking enough so she needs tender loving care the others want to play with her but edwin won't allow that not today foreign if she wants to sleep we give her time to sleep it's like a young baby human baby.

Sometimes in the day they want to sleep sometimes they want to play she's teething we always have fever when they're eating they always have a poor appetite they always have tummy problems diarrhea it's like like things when they're teething.

So it is a period that all elephants have to go through it's sunday and the keepers are listening closely to the radio commentary on a football match in england foreign.

If the teams stay fit playing with the ball so can the orphan elephants of nairobi come on come on kick the ball kick the ball kick the ball kick chat kick kick kick.

Come on kick them come on kick the ball kick the ball kick the ball kick it is important for elephants to do exercise and.

Some of the exercise we actually show them is playing the ball though not only playing the ball is what they should do but that is what we can do with them you know with the mothers they walk long distance but they can't go away from us so we are trying to do some exercise with them so that they get used to the.

Normal life of walking long distances doing a lot of exercise in the world and it's exercise for everyone yeah the elephants and the kiefers it's monday morning and dida and her two companions have to set off at savo that means they first have to be lured onto the truck.

Dida remains reluctant but in the end she agrees naturally elephants are really scared of noise even very little noise so them being in a truck and the truck is moving will scare them and they'll be a little.

Bit scared and nervous and stressed they'll be moving up and down in the truck they'll be shouting making a lot of noise trying to look for help trying to find out how they can get out of their trucks and such like things but after 20 years to a half an hour they have settled and they are acquired and the journey goes unwell.

The 300 kilometer ride from nairobi to tsavo takes between six and eight hours the residents of the rehabilitation centre who are known as ex-orphans come home early from their walk in the park so that they can welcome the newcomers they already know dida and the other two from their time together in the nairobi nursery.

The reunion will no doubt be emotional it's a small mud wallow when they come in you know voi is a hot it's not like in nairobi so after they have taken a bottle of milk uh they'll always run for water so they find a good manual in place here so other orphans that are here also will come them in games in a.

Small waterhole like here and they'll like playing games with them socialing with them assuring them that all is well here and welcome them to saavo a crowd has gathered at the center the current resident orphans and a group of ex-orphans who've come to visit.

These graduates are now living in the wild together with wild elephants one of these alumni of the center has brought her baby along the bonds to their old keepers and fellow orphans are strong as you can see uh one of the ex-orphans has begun has.

Given birth to a female cow so they usually come to show us that they've gotten a calf and this is the health situation that is teasing if it has a problem they come we do attention to them so this is a type of a love that the elephants give us because we need to.

Take good care of them and at their nursery thirty elephants are waiting to greet the three little orphans from nairobi that's quite a welcoming committee the older ones will also help the keepers the telling them here is okay these guys are good for for you guys so stay calm.

And your time will reach where you go back and enjoy your life back into the wild you just keep cool and feel at home once a year the elephants who are ready to leave the nursery in nairobi are brought to the rehabilitation center.

Joseph sauni has been in touch by phone since the early morning with the approaching convoy the procedures are familiar but still the event generates excitement when they see the new arrival they will be attracted towards inviting them in but if they don't get a bottle of milk.

Now they're all in concentrate near the mixing room to get their share first so we have to give them milk so that they can go and invite the new arrivals that milk is meant only for the current residents the alumni living in the wild don't get any at least that's the idea.

so all right finished i'm very happy yeah i'm also very curious to see their size you know some of them are very small and we have.

To work extra hard to make sure that they grow on well the trip to tsavo has taken seven hours the question is how are the three little ones after the long and tiring journey come on.

Okay they did not uh create any fuss in the in the trucks they were all quiet and we are we had an easy going and good trip after this place i'm happy to see them here because.

This is where they should be this is where they belong so um we have brought them at the right place they belong to the world and that's where we brought them and i'm happy to see that and also they've met their friends here your community edwin has to say goodbye to his elephant.

Children and head back to nairobi dida and the other two will remain here but also have a long way to go until they're ready to leave the rehabilitation center and live in the wild they'll spend their nights in the safety of the compound and their days exploring a whole new world at savo national park.

the daily routine will remain constant drinking milk walking and browsing the newcomers will now have to make friends with the other elephants a perfect time to do so is while.

Wallowing together in the mud yeah it's very important because here is where they socialize in games and they also are selected as friends of uh individual elephants here in the mud bus you know that's that's this is the break from the daily routine of feeding and uh this is where they play games here and after the mud they go to a soil dusting.

Game so here is where they socialize and make friends because this is the only time they have to play during the day and night it will be years until deedah and her friends can live independently like wild elephants years of playing and learning.

The young orphans are about to embark on a great new adventure in the tsavo national park you

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