Latika’s Tale: A Resilient Orphan Overcoming the Harsh Wilderness

In the unforgiving terrain of Tsavo East National Park, Latika, an 18-month-old elephant, was trapped by a wire snare, adding a cruel twist to her already challenging life as an orphan of the dry season.

The incident unfolded at Salt Lick Lodge on the evening of October 10, 2021, where elephants frequent a waterhole outside the lodge.

Watch the video at the end.

Lodge staff noticed the distressed calf, isolated without a mother or herd, struggling with a wire snare tightly wound around her neck.

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Despite the constant presence of elephant herds, Latika remained alone, prompting the staff to monitor her closely.

Swift action was taken at dawn as a plan was set in motion. A helicopter transported KWS veterinarian Dr. Poghon to the location while the SWT/KWS Ziwani Anti-Poaching Team made their way to the distressed calf.

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Found on the outskirts of a herd, it was evident that the snare had taken a toll on Latika’s health.

Other elephants displayed curiosity but were unwilling to take on the responsibility of caring for an infant reliant on milk, exacerbated by the prevailing drought conditions.

Dr. Poghon darted Latika, and with the assistance of the helicopter, the nearby elephants were kept at bay.

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Thankfully, the snare had not caused fatal damage, allowing Dr. Poghon to remove it quickly before addressing the painful neck wound. After treatment, Latika was successfully revived.

Despite hopes of reuniting her with her kin, Latika’s attempts to join the herd proved futile. Left alone on the vast plains, the Ziwani Anti-Poaching Team returned to find her weak and abandoned after the pack had moved on.

Following KWS guidelines, the team captured Latika without external assistance and transported her to the nearby airstrip.

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In the late afternoon, she was airlifted to the Nairobi Nursery via Cessna Caravan.

Dubbed Latika, in homage to the place of her rescue, the young elephant’s past remains a mystery.

Whether entangled in a snare or weakened by the dry season, Latika’s resilience shines through.

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Despite a challenging start, she adapts to nursery life, forms bonds with other rescues and displays a fighting spirit.

The keepers observe minor improvements daily, and Latika, though selective about her friends, is proving to be a formidable presence.

Despite her hardships, Latika’s journey is a testament to resilience, and there’s hope she will grow into a powerful force in the wild.

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Read more Elephant News.

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