Mwashoti is one of the seven orphan baby elephants rescued by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT), whose names adorn our Elephant Strength Gin miniature bottles. We chose to foster these seven beautiful elephants as they’ve shown an incredible strength and persistence, overcoming terrible heartaches, unbelievable traumas, injuries and losses of their family.

On the 14th of February 2015, only at one year old, he fell victim to poaching activities. DSWT treated his horrendous snare wound, that cut through the joint leaving the baby extremely compromised. His mother remained by his side, and had to be anaesthetised too in order for his injury to be treated. The decision was made to give him the benefit of doubt and leave him to try to heal in a wild situation, remaining by his mother’s side.

DSWT anti poaching teams monitored their movements throughout this time checking on his progress, but as the weeks passed it became apparent that his condition was deteriorating. His mother was forced to drop out from their herd, unable to walk any distance in search of food, and the two of them cut a lonely sight as she remained by the side of her ailing calf, who was becoming increasingly more immobile with each new day.

A second treatment was scheduled three weeks later and it was evident that if this baby was going to have any chance of survival, he needed to be rescued, to undergo intensive treatment for his now heavily infected injury. His mother was struggling too, her condition was deteriorating as a result of being forced to remain close to water with little food available, inhibited because of her stricken calf. The very tough decision was made.

On arrival at the Nursery, Mwashoti was placed in a stockade next to another orphan called Sirimon, and given a bottle of milk which he was reluctant to take at first. Fresh greens were placed in his stockade and a keeper was on duty with him throughout the night. By next morning, he was already passionate about his milk bottle, and sucking the keeper’s fingers.

Mwashoti is an extremely loving little calf, and despite what humans have inflicted on him, all but severing his leg and robbing him of his mother in an effort to save his life, it was as if he understood the situation. He loves the company of the other orphans, and their presence has certainly helped settle him down. The DSWT given him a name from his home range Mwashoti. This is a Taita name for an area where the Grewia bushes grow with their red berries close to where this little calf was rescued. Mwashoti’s mother rejoined her herd.

Watch a rescue video here.

 Photo copyright and text: David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust