Series about orphaned baby elephants at the David Shelrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya. Little orphan Makena wakes to find her beloved Lualeni has gone.
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Previously on Elephant Diaries, there was heartbreak in Nairobi
as the mini-matriarch Lualeni and two-year-old male Kora
had to leave for Ithumba,
one of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust's release sites.
He doesn't know what's going on.
But how will Makena react when she wakes up
and finds her adoptive mum, Lualeni, has gone for good?
The trucks carrying Lualeni and Kora are heading out of Nairobi
to a new life, deep in the heart of Tsavo National Park,
but how are things with the little orphans they've left behind?
It's time for Makena to come out now. It'll be interesting to see how she reacts.
The likelihood is that she'll go around sniffing,
very much looking for Lualeni.
You can see her trunk. She's already having a good sniff about.
Come on, gorgeous!
The first thing Makena does is look for some reassurance from Sian.
At 18 months, Sian's the oldest female here,
and a wise and gentle elephant.
Makena then double-checks
that Lualeni really isn't still in her stable.
These are such intelligent animals,
they've probably worked out what's happened.
You can see that all the elephants are having a good look
for Lualeni and Kora. They've even gone to the trucks.
They can see the trucks have now gone.
Now, remember, they were watching all the rehearsals,
so they're very much aware of the fact
that those two elephants were being encouraged
to go into the back of those trucks.
It seems that Makena almost realises what has happened
and now she just doesn't know what to do.
She's just standing on her own, thinking, "Where's my Lualeni?
"Whose ear am I gonna suck now?"
This subdued little group follow their normal routine
and head off out into the bush for the day.
Although these separations are only temporary,
and they'll eventually meet in Ithumba,
there's no way these little ones can understand that.
All they know is that their beloved mini-matriarch has gone.
In the trucks, Lualeni and Kora
must be feeling just as anxious and confused.
After an eight-hour journey,
at last they've arrived at their new home, the Ithumba stockade.
Everyone rallies round to make sure the newcomers are OK.
Lualeni and Kora are going to be meeting up
with pals who moved up here a little while ago,
and the keepers are also getting a chance to catch up with old friends.
Word is out that the new members of the family have arrived,
and the 22-strong herd rush back to greet them.
Quite a few were in the nursery with Lualeni and Kora, including Orock,
who only moved up here a few months ago.
These joyful reunions should go a long way
to helping Lualeni and Kora forget the stress and trauma
of leaving Nairobi.
Even elephants they've never met before are really excited
and seem genuinely pleased to see them.
Eventually, it's time for the Ithumba herd
to lead the new members of the family off into the bush
and show them round their new home.
I only hope that the Nairobi herd are coping as well as these two.
Up here, the orphans are out in the bush,
and they're definitely feeling very out of sorts.
It's hoped that a new mini-matriarch will soon emerge
to fill the void left by Lualeni, bringing harmony to the family,
and the eldest female, Sian, is the obvious candidate.
Now, look at this.
This is Zurua and Makena having a real go at each other.
Now, when Lualeni was here, she would come and break that up
pretty quickly. She wouldn't let it get this far.
It's gonna be interesting to see if Sian will eventually come over
and sort these two out.
It still looks like it's equal.
They're still play fighting,
but it very quickly turns into a one-sided fight.
Look, and this is Sian.
Is Sian gonna do anything?
Yeah, look at that!
Isn't that incredible? Sian has taken the role of mini-matriarch
and done exactly what Lualeni would have done.
It took her a little bit longer, but it is only day one.
Hopefully, things will settle down in the coming days,
as the Nairobi orphans come to terms with all the changes in the family.
Next day, I'm up in Ithumba
to see Lualeni and Kora for their first full day in their new home.
I'll be very interested to see how they're settling in. Here they come.
They're definitely looking a little bit like new kids in the school,
because, at the moment, they're just not really mixing in with the others
and they're very much together
and, of course, depending on the keepers
for a little bit of comfort, a little bit of confidence.
But that's the whole role of the keepers -
to act in this transition,
in terms of getting these little ones integrated in the group.
It's still early days for Lualeni and Kora. There's so much to learn.
The food is different, the landscape, the faces,
and they have to get used to a whole new routine.
In Nairobi, while the seven little orphans
slowly come to terms with the changes in their lives,
a drama is unfolding which is about to change everything.
Head keeper Edwin and the team are co-ordinating a rescue.
A baby elephant has been spotted next to the body of its dead mother.
Now it's a race against time to rescue it.
The baby was spotted, lost and confused, in Tsavo National Park.
The rescue team have found the dead mother,
but the little one has run off into the bush.
Fortunately, the keepers quickly spot the terrified baby,
desperately trying to hide.
The little calf is only a few weeks old
and, without his mother, he has absolutely no chance of survival.
Despite his initial terror, this clever little baby soon works out
that these humans mean him no harm
and to everyone's utter relief, he quickly calms down
and quietly follows his rescuers.
This extraordinary acceptance of humans by elephants
is part of what makes these rescues so successful.
It looks as if his mother died yesterday,
so the poor little calf will be hungry, dehydrated
and very confused.
It's not clear why his mother died,
but she has lost a large portion of her trunk,
probably in a poacher's snare.
Elephants need their trunks to get food,
so it's possible that she has partly succumbed to malnutrition.
Her tiny little calf tries to wake her,
but with the plane on its way to take him to the nursery in Nairobi,
it's time for him to leave.
The keepers want to get him up to the orphanage
as quickly as possible.
A baby elephant this young is incredibly fragile
and unless he gets expert care, he simply won't make it.
For the calf, this is the last time he'll be seeing Tsavo
for a couple of years.
If he survives, then Nairobi will be his home
until he is old enough to come back
and learn to live in the wild once more.
Safely aboard the plane,
this little elephant is lucky to have been rescued.
Next stop, the nursery and a whole new life.
Two hours north of the rescue site,
Lualeni and Kora are having to get used to their new life
and, at midday, this means trying out the Ithumba mud wallow.
In Nairobi, the mud wallow is filled with fresh water daily.
Out here, things are more natural and a lot dirtier and smellier
than what these city slickers are used to.
A couple of the others try to tempt them in,
but these two are having none of it.
They're in no hurry to lose their lovely red colour and turn grey.
The keepers do their best to get tough with some firm encouragement,
but they're not convinced!
They're not willing to dip so much as a toe
in that smelly black water, and that's final!
The keepers are forced to give up, but they'll have to go in eventually
as elephants need mud to protect their skin.
Let's hope they get over their fussiness soon
and start to blend in.
But trying out the new bathing facilities
is not the only lesson for the day.
The sleeping arrangements are also a challenge.
In Nairobi, they're used to individual stables.
Up here, it's a bit more like life in the wild,
sleeping under the stars with the herd.
And two-year-old Kora is in for a shock!
-ELECTRIC FENCE CRACKLES
-The electric wire is there for their own protection.
Fortunately, one of the older females, Nasalot,
is there to reassure him.
There's still a lot to learn about life with the big elephants.
Let's hope it's not too traumatic for them.
Trauma is unavoidable for the poor little rescued calf.
We're all waiting anxiously for his plane to touch down.
Let's hope he's not too stressed out!
The journey may have put this little chap into shock,
and Edwin is very anxious to get him safely to his new home.
He seems fairly calm at the moment,
but you can hear quite a lot of noise already.
Poor little thing!
It only lost its mother yesterday, perhaps,
and already it's been captured, it's had to go in an aeroplane
and now, fortunately, it's only a short journey
until we get to the orphanage.
You can't imagine what this poor little thing must be going through.
The little calf still has his legs tied together from the flight,
but it's only a 15-minute drive.
We're nearly at the orphanage, so the straps are just being taken off.
It'll be great to be able to untie this little baby's legs.
I'll tell you something, it's a very strong little orphan,
which is a really good thing.
You can hear it's making a lot of noise, and that's very positive too,
because it's still got a lot of life in it.
He's going straight in the stable,
where he's going to get as much care as they can possibly give him.
Daphne Sheldrick, the orphanage's founder,
along with her highly skilled team,
are world experts in saving baby elephants,
but it's not just the humans who are concerned
about this new arrival.
This is Loijuk from the stables next door, and look!
Oh, that is so sweet!
Loijuk has just come to say, "Hello. It's OK, you're in a safe place now.
"We'll take care of you."
It must be such a comfort to see another elephant's face.
And this could be the start of a really close friendship.
But it is so tragic!
Its whole little world has been torn apart in the last 24 hours.
From now on, everything is gonna be done
to make this little elephant's life better.
What a little sweetheart!
But what an absolute tragedy.
Head Keeper Edwin, along with Angela, Daphne's daughter,
work out the best treatment for this frightened little youngster,
as sometimes it can be trauma of their rescues
which kills the baby elephants.
I think this little baby has had enough stress for one day,
so we're gonna leave him alone.
He's gonna spend the night with Edwin.
Don't think Edwin'll get much sleep!
They've given the little baby some camomile tea and rescue remedy,
so hopefully he'll get a little bit of sleep himself.
We're gonna come back and check on him in the morning.
An elephant this young and traumatised could go into deep shock
and simply lose the will to live,
but everyone is going to be doing their utmost to keep him alive.
Knowing how critical things are for the little calf,
I'm up at the crack of dawn.
It's six o'clock in the morning.
We've come to check on our newest little orphan
and see how he's got on.
Well, he and Edwin are still fast asleep,
which probably means that they've had a bit of a rough night.
That's one exhausted elephant and one exhausted Edwin.
We'll check on them later.
The little calf will get the best possible care,
but it's not just the tiny ones who get this unconditional devotion.
I'm travelling to Voi, the second of the two release sites here in Tsavo.
I want to catch up with one of the older elephants
who's been given years of TLC to try and improve her quality of life.
Looking back a few months, seven-year-old Mweiga was crippled
with painful joints and a suspected heart condition.
The team had been trying her on some new medicine to ease her discomfort.
I'm just hoping it's worked.
I can see, that's amazing!
She's actually picking up her pace. That's incredible!
This is quite remarkable,
because this is Mweiga actually almost at a run.
What a difference from just a few months ago!
That just shows you what effort the Trust puts
into all of these elephants. Each of them are treated as individuals
and, if they have a problem,
you can guarantee that the Trust will look after it.
Normally, she's completely separated from the rest of the group.
Look, she can't wait to get to the mud wallow,
and she looks in so much better condition.
I mean, even just looking at her bottom,
she just doesn't look that much different from the other elephants.
A few months ago, she was skin and bones.
Now, we know that Mweiga almost certainly
can never go back to the wild. She's just not strong enough.
In fact, if she'd been left in the wild,
she would have died for certain.
But she can always be comfortable in the knowledge
that she has a home here in Voi, and a great quality of life.
But Mweiga is also able to give something back to the herd.
Eventually, she could act as an auntie to the younger ones.
Every single one of Kenya's elephants is precious
and, by saving so many of them
and helping to care for their environment,
the Trust are making a real contribution
to conservation here in Africa.
Here in Nairobi, the struggle to save these orphaned elephants
is at its most intense, and I'm hoping that the little rescued calf
is responding to all the love and care they're giving him.
Well, our little newcomer has woken up, and so has Edwin.
Was it a bad night, Edwin?
-A little difficult night.
Not a real bad one, but he slept for some time.
About ten, 15 minutes, he wakes up, ten, 15 minutes, he wakes up.
I could hear him.
When we left last night, I could hear him bellowing and trumpeting.
Did he do that all through the night as well?
Yeah, most of the time during the night.
So what's the plan now?
Well, the plan is to let him stay in the stable
and maybe walk out when the sun is shining.
Not with the others,
but we will allow him to join the others for some time,
not to spend the whole day.
The little calf has been named Shimba
and, for his emotional and mental wellbeing,
he's going to be meeting up with the rest of the herd later today.
A couple of hours later, and the Nairobi herd are out in the bush
and still seem very subdued.
Makena is clearly still feeling insecure after Lualeni's departure,
so perhaps meeting little Shimba will be just what they need
to distract them from all that's happened.
In a minute, Shimba is going to meet the bigger orphans
for the very first time, so we're just getting him ready
to go out in the sun.
It's surprising how susceptible little babies are to sunburn.
In the wild, they get lots of shade from their mothers
and the rest of the herd, but here, they get good old factor 30
and also an umbrella if it's really hot!
Hey! You're gonna meet the big ones, aren't you?
At last, it's time to meet the new member of the family.
Look at the ears go out!
Oh, look at that! Makena's first over.
And Sian and Loijuk.
And look at the way they're just all putting their trunks over
in a very caring, loving way.
You can see the way that they're all trying
to protect this little newcomer.
And look how tiny Shimba looks!
You look so sweet and so little and so vulnerable.
-And that's gonna be his new family.
Little Shimba has only just lost his own herd,
but look - already he's found a new herd to be part of.
They may be very young,
but they're still gonna be a very loving, supporting group to be with.
The friendship and affection of this little herd of survivors
is probably the most important factor in helping young Shimba
to survive his personal tragedy.
What Shimba can do in return is help them forget the trauma
of losing Lualeni and Kora.
It's now been a week since Lualeni and Kora
moved down to the release site here in Tsavo National Park.
I'm keen to see whether they've really settled into life
in their new home, and the midday mud wallow
is where I'm hoping to find out.
A week ago, our two little elephants from Nairobi, Lualeni and Kora,
didn't want to know about this mud wallow.
It was just like, "Oh, that's far too dirty for us!"
But look now! They're just having the time of their lives.
They have slotted into the routine here at Ithumba perfectly,
and I could get very muddy any minute!
But the beauty of the whole system
is that those little elephants from Nairobi...
make the transition, learn how to be little elephants
and then they're brought here.
They graduate to Ithumba,
which is where eventually they will go back to the wild.
And I am certainly gonna need a bath after this!
I should've guessed that that friendly little elephant
under all that sticky mud was Lualeni. I reckon that says it all
about how well she's taken to her new life.
There are 24 young elephants living here, all growing up strong
and healthy, and preparing for a life back in the wild.
Ultimately, the benefits they bring to this environment will be immense.
All the wild elephants were poached out of this area in the '80s,
but the presence of this herd of orphans
will help to encourage the elephants back.
They'll open up game trails and promote the growth of grasslands,
making Ithumba a better place for all the Tsavo wildlife.
We've seen five little elephants move down here from the nursery
in the last few months,
and it's great to know that they're all thriving in their new home.
But I can't help wondering how Lualeni's little friend Makena
is getting on without her.
Do you know, I reckon Lualeni leaving is the making of Makena.
Suddenly, she's realised that there's more to life
than sucking Lualeni's ear.
She's become a lot more independent in the last couple of days -
you can see, a lot more feisty!
She's even beginning to mother little Chyulu here.
In fact, I think that, when it's her time,
she's gonna be a fabulous little mini-matriarch.
Makena is growing up quickly and proving how resilient she is.
But the little elephant who's made the most progress is Shimba.
He's bursting with energy, out with the herd every day
and sticking like glue to his neighbour,
and now adoptive mum, Loijuk.
Being the tiniest, the keepers all adore him.
But Shimba is totally devoted to Loijuk.
Despite what he's been through
and the fact that he's only a couple of months old,
Shimba loves to wrestle with some of the bigger bulls in the herd.
If he's not rolling around with the boys,
then a roll in the dirt will do just as well.
But it's bedtime, which says so much about how little Shimba
has fitted into life with his new family of people and elephants.
He's so attached to Loijuk that he tries to sneak into her stable
to spend the night with her, but, round here,
it's strictly one elephant per stable,
and Shimba is tempted back to his own room with a warm bottle of milk.
But Loijuk is only next door.
She knows just how much he needs her,
and she's there to reassure Shimba as he settles down for the night.
The keepers tuck him in as gently as possible.
This little one needs every bit of sleep he can get.
Considering that he's been through the horror of seeing his mum die
at such a young age, this is as close as Shimba could get
to a happy ending.
And Loijuk gently soothes him off into a deep sleep.
It's heart-warming to see how well Shimba is getting on,
but these are still dangerous times for all Africa's elephants,
with ivory poaching on the increase,
and pressure on land from human settlement.
But there IS hope and, for little Shimba and all the other orphans,
there is a real chance for a life back among the wild herds of Tsavo.
It just makes you feel wonderful to be alive,
to see tiny little baby elephants, wild elephants,
with their mothers, relaxed within the herd,
able to drink, able to socialise...
Because you think about the lives our orphans have led -
where they came from, many of them orphaned, losing their mothers,
when they were just a few days old, a few weeks old.
Imagine the trauma that they must have felt!
But they have got a second chance.
The females will come back to the wild
and hopefully will have their own calves.
It's happened already.
And this is the point of the whole thing, the cycle coming full circle,
the orphans going back to the wild.
We know that it can work.
This is the future for the orphans, and it's a wild future.
Of course, not all the elephants that get orphaned in the wild
get found and rescued.
Even those that do, sadly, as we've seen, sometimes don't make it.
These little babies represent the lucky ones,
the ones that are given a second chance.
With plenty of time, love, dedication and patience,
their fate can be turned around.
It's been an incredible year here at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust,
seeing all the elephants come and go, growing, changing, having fun,
making friends and learning how to live in the wild.
Elephants like Wendi, who struggled with an identity crisis,
little blind Ndololo, who lost his fight for life,
Makena, who was so deeply devoted to Lualeni,
but coped so well with her separation,
and Emily, who showed us just how successful life in the wild can be.
The loveliest creature.
All this is made possible by Daphne Sheldrick
and her team of dedicated keepers.
The work here with the orphans is ongoing
and as long as there are baby elephants in need,
there will be a home and a family for them here.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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Series about orphaned baby elephants at the David Shelrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya. Little orphan Makena wakes to find her beloved Lualeni has gone. In Tsavo, Jonathan Scott joins the two new arrivals from the nursery. How will they cope among the big herd as they explore life back in the wilds?
A newly rescued tiny orphan baby is found next to his mother's body. Vulnerable and alone, everyone hopes Shimba's story will have a happy ending.