Dida was one of the orphaned baby elephants that I have been sponsoring with the The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya. I have just received an e-mail from the DSWT about Dida's sad and premature passing away:( She was rescued from a manhole on the main Mzima – Mombasa Pipeline in September 2007 at the age of just 4 weeks and I have been sponsoring her from the beginning. You can read about her rescue here.
|Dida at her rescue from a manhole|
|Dida suckling on Lesanju's (my first ever sponsored orphaned baby elephant) blanket,||October 2007|
The elephants are highly intelligent, caring, compassionate and social creatures and they mourn the loss of a loved one just as deeply as we do.
"Dida thrived during her Nursery Years - and apart from being somewhat smaller than others of her age, appeared perfectly healthy. She was happy and playful, but as she was moved to the Voi Rehabilitation facility on the 11th May 2010, where older orphans are slowly integrated back to the wildlife, she never grew physically as she should, and there were ominous signs that all was not well. As a five year old, she was so small that she could have been mistaken for the calf of one of the larger orphans. We returned her to the formula on which newborns thrive (the elephants are milk dependent for the first three years of life). For a time this seemed to suit Dida better, and she felt sufficiently well to venture into the noon mudbath along with the others, and to being able to keep pace with them out in the bush, always accompanied by either Ndii or Kenia, hers special elephant friends, who recognized her frailty and watched over her diligently to ensure that the boisterous and exuberant little bulls did not playfully barge or push her. However the signs were that Dida's problem was with a vital organ. We did our very best to save precious Dida, but she was, as it transpired, a victim of the circumstances surrounding her being orphaned in the first place. The autopsy revealed that Dida's lungs were encased in a membrane that had grown into the lungs themselves and the surrounding rib cage and were hopelessly undeveloped as a result, obviously compromised right from the outset. Probably because of having inhaled the putrid water when she fell into the manhole all those years ago as a tiny infant calf, Due to her failing lungs her other organs had to work over time. She was very tragically destined not live a long healthy life. We miss her and we wish it might have been otherwise, but like the Elephants themselves, after the grief and tears, a page has to be turned in order to focus on the living and be at hand to help others who are fortunate enough to be rescued in time to have a second chance of life. Rest in Peace, Dida. You will live on in the hearts and memories of many, many people who followed your life through the Fostering Program for five long years."
You will always hold a special place in my heart, Dida, along with Pesi, Kimana and Maalim, who passed away before you.
|Dida with Lesanju protectively behind|