Galana’s story was not always a happy one; twelve years ago she was a frail and feeble orphaned elephant, who was terrified of facing the world without a mother. Fortunately for this baby elephant she was spotted at the border of Tsavo National Park, Kenya, lonely and laying on a stretch of thick saltbush. She was taken to the Davis Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) where she was catered for and blossomed into a vibrant and healthy adult elephant. Later released into the wild in 2011, she made her home among a herd of elephants, led by Yatta, who was also a former orphan.
Fast track to an early September morning, Galana was once again spotted but this time with a group of bulls hanging outside the stockades of her rescuers compound. On getting closer to Galana and her group, it was noticed that she had a little one with her, her newborn baby girl only a few hours old.
What followed was a celebration as other dependent orphans, as well as former orphans gathered around the mother and child blowing their trumpets and marching in joy. DSWT described the event on Facebook stating that Galana was encircled by excited elephants who it seems had assumed the job of nurse to baby girl Gawa.
Amie Alden of DSWT also stated that the team was glad to have been able to give Galana the safety and nurture that she needed after she lost her mother, probably to poachers. They also hope to provide a safe environment with their anti-poaching teams and aerial Surveillance which will allow baby girl Gawa grow and eventually have a family of her own without fear of harm. Alden also added that it was typical of the cows (female elephants) to visit more than the bulls (male elephants) and that Galana’s groups, led by Yatta, had visited the DSWT Reintegration Unit at Ithumba on several occasions.
On her most recent visit to the Center, Galana had a bundle of joy to share, and the baby was named “Gawa” meaning “to share by dividing” in Swahili.
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is a pioneer conservation organization for habitat protection and wildlife preservation in East Africa. At the heart of the foundation is the orphan rescue program, that rescues orphaned elephants with the aim of preserving the species one animal at a time.