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Ajali is one of the seven orphan baby elephants rescued by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT), whose names adorn our Elephant Strength Gin miniature bottles. We chose to foster these seven beautiful elephants as they’ve shown an incredible strength and persistence, overcoming terrible heartaches, unbelievable traumas, injuries and losses of their family.
Ajali was first sighted on the 2nd of November 2016 after he had been hit by a car on the Mombasa Highway, most likely during the night as his herd crossed the road to the other side of the National Park. He was approximately 6 years old and he just lost his family.
DSWT and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Mobile Veterinary Unit was alerted and once arrived on the scene, they found him extremely immobile with fluid dripping from his trunk and mouth. The decision was made to anaesthetise him for a closer examination and then load him onto the Trust’s Canter truck to transport him to the stockades in Voi for close observation and supplementary feeding. However, implementing a plan like this took some doing, as lifting and loading a six year old elephant is no easy task. It was soon ascertained that he certainly had some broken ribs and there was the possibility of sinister internal injuries too.
His prognosis for recovery due to the breadth of his injuries and further unknown complications internally was guarded at the time. He got to his feet but despite being surrounded by lush, freshly cut greens from the Voi River, lucerne grass and dairy cubes, he did not want to feed. Later however, once the dependent orphans returned home with their keepers for the night, he settled as they surrounded his stockade making their reassuring rumbling sounds and communicating with him all the while. After this, he visibly perked up and started to feed, and by morning had flattened the food that was placed in his stockade.
His recovery however was a little up and down, till January 2017, when Ajali was finally well enough to come out of his Taming Stockade and joined the orphans out in the bush for their daily routine. He instantly took a shine to Mudanda, who he likes to browse with, and he is doing extremely well.
Photo copyright and text: David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust