Aching Odyssey: The Baby Elephant’s 200-Mile Journey for Healing and a Dream of Reunion with Mother

A baby elephant who almost died when he stepped on a poacher’s snare, severing his foot to the bone, has been saved by vets.

Vets used natural green clay to pack the one-year-old calf’s foot to assist healing and prevent further infection after he was by found by a mobile veterinary unit in Taita-Taveta County, Kenya in February.

Just three weeks after being treated, the elephant’s condition had deteriorated and the team flew him more than 200 miles to a nursery in Nairobi National Park.

Severely injured: The baby elephant pictured being treated by a team of medics in Taita-Taveta County, Kenya

Mwashoti was found with severely injured after he stepped on a poacher’s snare, severing his foot to the bone

Elephant was treated by medics in Taita-Taveta County, Kenya in February before his condition deteriorated

Rob Brandford, UK executive director of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the charity which found the elephant, insists that without their intervention the calf, named Mwashoti, would have died.

He said: ‘Mwashoti’s condition was extremely serious. Suffering from a man-made injury, he was found with a snare tightly wound around his foot.

‘This had nearly severed his foot and though he was protected by his mother and herd, he was in severe pain and unable to walk far – which the pair needed to do to find food and water.

‘Without our help, it’s likely he would have fallen behind and at some point, his mother would have had to make the tough choice to abandon her baby to ensure her own survival.’

Journey: The elephant is transported to an orphanage in Nairobi National Park, Kenya for treatment in March

In safe hands: Little Mwashoti’s horrific snare wound is treated in March at Nairobi National Park, Kenya

Care: Experienced keepers at Nairobi National Park, Kenya look after the elephants as they exercise

‘It became evident if the baby was going to have any chance of survival, he needed to be rescued, and undergo intensive daily treatment for his now heavily infected injury,’ Mr Brandford added.

At the nursery in Nairobi, the vulnerable baby elephant received round-the-clock care and treatment, including emotional support, special formula and blankets to keep him warm.

Mr Brandford is hopeful Mwashoti will be able to return to the wild one day.

He said: ‘We strongly believe he has a wild life ahead of him.

‘Mwashoti’s wound continues to heal – miraculously he is currently walking out and about with the other orphans in the Nairobi Forest and we think his horrendous wound should fully heal.’

A keeper plays with the young elephant. It is hoped Mwashoti may one day be released back into the wild

On the move: The young elephant is pictured walking despite his injury suffered when he stepped on a snare

The baby elephant has settled in well at the nursery at Nairobi National Park, Kenya following his horrific ordeal