A baby elephant has died a heart-breaking death following the murder of his family a few days earlier.
Losoito was just a few months old after he witnessed his family being massacred for their tusks in Kenya, after which he spent two days alone in the wild before being rescued by a rescue team. He lived another two days in their care, before passing away.
“It is with deep sadness that we share with you news of Losoito’s passing, the little calf rescued from the massacre in Tsavo last week that killed his family,” the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) wrote on its Facebook page.
“Having seen his family killed and butchered for their tusks, Losoito was understandably deeply traumatised by the time we reached him on 29th July. Though our Keepers did all they could, he developed diarrhea and sadly passed away on Sunday 2nd August.”
How could this happen?
On July 27, five elephants were slain in Kenya.
Their bodies were found the next day on a bloodied ground in Tsavo West National Park by members of the Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS). The victims: one female adult and four sub-adults. Their tusks were gone, hacked out of their faces.
Two days later, on July 29, little Losoito was found alive. The youngster was immediately rescued by both KWS and the anti-poaching and conservation organization Big Life Foundation. According to DSWT, Losoito was then driven to a local airfield “while the DSWT mobilised Keepers and a rescue plane from Nairobi to collect the calf to fly him back to our Nairobi Nursery.”
“Despite the baby having witnessed his whole family gunned down at the hands of humans, he has been friendly from the outset, needy of company and attention and clearly grateful to have been saved,” reported DSWT. “After his terrifying 38 hours he has responded immediately to the company of the other orphans in our care, not wanting to leave their sides since arrival. We have called him Losoito, after the name of the hill close to where he was found.”
According to the Daily Nation, a major operation is underway to find the poachers; at least two were arrested and “a blood-stained axe, a pair of sandals and a hacksaw were found in one of the houses where the two suspects were arrested,” according to a KWS spokesperson. The poaching gang is thought to be from Tanzania, and it is presumed they left the area on a motorbike carrying the bloodied tusks.
The news report notes that Kenya lost 164 elephants to poachers in 2014, and this year’s tally stood at 34 within the first four months.
As of August 2, however, the number is obviously higher.
“We are thankful that in his few days with us, at a time when he needed it most, [Losoito] received love and care; even trusting our Keepers despite the barbarity meted out to his family at the hands of humans,” DSWT’s statement reads.
“Losoito’s death takes the toll of the deadly massacre to six elephants killed in the name of the ivory trade; threatening a majestic species to the point of extinction so that an elephant’s tusks can be displayed on a mantle as a symbol of wealth.”