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Loisaba is one of the 22 orphan baby elephants rescued by the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, whose names adorn our Elephant Gin miniature bottles. She was born around January 1998 and arrived to the orphanage at the age of around 18 months. She was undoubtedly a victim of poaching, the body of her dead mother having been found without tusks on Loisaba Ranch in Laikipia district, Kenya. 4 inches of Loisaba’s trunk had been sliced clean off, probably slashed by the poachers finding her presence by the body of her dead mother a nuisance when they turned up to hack the tusks from the carcass.
Having been rescued, she was sedated and flown directly to Tsavo to join the other orphans, but on arrival, all she wanted to do was to kill every human in sight. The other orphans calmed her, but she never lost her distrust of humans, and although she accepted the presence of the keepers, she did so reluctantly and grudgingly.
Because of the horrors she was exposed to in her short life, she remained fearful around humans, but was a loving little elephant, who became devoted to another elephant called Malaika, and suffered yet another tragedy when Malaika died during childbirth later in life. Loisaba went “through the mill” in her short life, probably subjected to more tragedy than most of the others. She harboured a distrust of humans, for obvious reasons, was highly sensitive, but gentle and clever; a real “survivor” who would have one day made a very successful “wild” candidate because of her tendency to shun human contact.
Unfortunately, Loisaba died at a very young age of 13, due to lung cancer and despite every effort of the local vet team. Loisaba’s story remains one worth telling for it reflect the ambivalent world we live in today. One of human interference that causes terrible damage to today’s wildlife – driving elephants to extinction – and one that proves the successful efforts by The Trust and other organisations that work so effortlessly to heal the wounds left by other humans.
Photo and text credit: Sheldrick Wildlife Trust