Then, they waited. They hoped that her herd would return for the baby, so young she was still dependent on her mother's milk. But it was unclear how long the baby had been struggling and there were no signs of a herd in the area.
That's when the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) and its expert elephant keepers were called. "For an elephant, family is all-important and it is vital for a young orphaned elephant to feed soon after rescue," Rob Brandford, executive director of the DSWT (U.K.), told The Dodo. "A calf's very existence depends upon its mother's milk for the first two years of life, but through stress and exposure to the elements, the condition of these vulnerable calves can deteriorate very quickly."
They brought sorely needed elephant milk formula for the baby, as well as hope for her future. "The most testing time for us is during a rescue. Our teams must ensure they are ready and prepared with the medical supplies, equipment and treatment needed for the flight and rescue operation," Brandford said.
In a bittersweet but necessary decision, with her family nowhere in sight, the lost baby elephant was flown to DSWT's orphaned elephant nursery for longer term care.