Special Feature: Faraja has been moved !


Faraja moves to Umani Spring rehabilitation unit


A bit of background:

Faraja is the litte orphan elephant which South African Tourism Company fund every year and adopted. He has recently been moved to Umani Spring rehabilitation unit in Kenya. When Faraj was rescued he was extremely thin and weak for his size.

Faraja now has a second chance at life and is young enough to embrace his new family with a new future, and has settled in extremely well. He is regaining strength and remains with the love and warmth of other elephants around him.

Why Faraja is so special:

Faraja is a unique little elephant with a special difference to all the other orphans the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has rescued. Normally elephants are born with dark grey skin pigmentation and black hair and eyelashes, but Faraja is one of only two elephant calves born in Amboseli with distinct albino colorings. At birth the Amboseli research team observed that Faraja’s white hair and pale colorations were much more visible, having darkened slightly with age.

Faraja eyelid-pic1

Read all about his journey to Umani below..

After weeks of preparation the day for Faraja, Ngasha, and Jasiri to embark on the next step of their journey back to living a wild life finally arrived.

It was decided that the 3 young elephants rescued from Amboseli National Park, Kenya, all victims of poaching, would be best placed at the Umani Spring rehabilitation Unit nestled in the beautiful Kibwezi Forest. Kibwezi Forest, in Kenya, forms part of the Chyulu Hills National Park, an ecosystem that stretches beyond to both Tsavo West National Park and the Amboseli environs.

On the 16th of January everyone was up early at 3:30am, mixing milk bottles and making sure the elephant mover truck was loaded and ready to transport its precious cargo.

At 4am the two albino half-brothers, Faraja and Jasiri and their best friend Ngasha were awoken in their stockades and tempted out with a milk bottle. Accustomed to having their milk on the truck, the three boys happily walked on-board simultaneously. This happened so smoothly and in record time that it rather caught everyone off guard.

With everyone up early and present for the loading, and with two Keepers on board, driver James, and assisted by Harrison, the truck pulled away under the cover of darkness in an effort to avoid any rush hour traffic.

Faraja on his way-pic2

A landrover followed the convoy to ensure that all went well without a glitch. They will be at Umani Springs, where they join Murera, Sonje, Lima Lima, Quanza and Zongoloni, until they will be confident enough to make their way with their new wild elephant friends.

Like our own children this will be a long journey that takes up to 10 to 12 years. With many wild elephant permanently in the Kibwezi Forest their access to wild friends will be immediate and through these friendships along with those of their old Nursery friends, Murera and co. they will be ably guided into the future.

The journey went smoothly and with only a short stop to give the passengers a milk bottle and collect some extra greens for the journey the truck arrived at Umani Springs Stockade by 9am. 

truck delivery-pic2

Umani’s current residents, Murera, Sonje, Lima Lima, Quanza and Zongoloni eagerly awaited the new arrivals.

Tempting out Faraja-pic3

Even the keepers couldn’t stop them from rushing up to the unloading bay to see who was onboard. Faraja, Jasiri and Ngasha, who had been so patient for the whole journey, were just as excited and as soon as the doors were open they walked out to meet their old friends and see their new home.

saying hello-pic4

The three boys stood out amongst the Umani girls as they were the colour of the Nairobi red soil, whereas the Umani orphans were grey, coated with the grey clay mud.

Ngasha, Faraja and Jasiri seemed fairly relaxed from the outset; everyone greeted each other, touching trunks to mouths and shoulder to shoulder before moving off to finish the left over Lucerne from the morning. The whole scene was remarkably calm and ordered.

Soon it was time for the mud bath and the keepers led the way, with the newest additions following close behind. The forest was very green and lush, more so than Nairobi, so none of the orphans could resist stopping occasionally to get some tasty greens and to revel in the new browse and new flavours.

After their midday milk bottle all of the orphans, even Faraja, Ngasha and Jasiri jumped into the mud bath for a good long wallow and once they came out they were all the same colour. Philip, the Umani head keeper even commented that they have their new uniforms on.

The new arrivals then followed the others to the dusting area and clambered onto the dust pile having a marvellous rolling and lolling dusting session and to the casual observer it looked like they belonged and had been part of Umani life for years.

The rest of the day the group of eight spent exploring the forest, with Lima Lima happy to lead the way, though not always happy to share the attentions of the Keepers.

In the evening, after a very exciting day, the orphan herd headed back to their night stockades. Ngasha was placed in a stockade next to Faraja and Jasiri who were sharing.

elephant stockades-pic1

At first Faraja seemed a bit confused over where to go, but once the keepers guided him to his stockade, with his half-brother, he settled down quickly with Ngasha falling asleep almost immediately!

This definitely was a day of celebration, and a wonderful day to witness, as it is indicative of great progress and the next important step in Faraja, his half-brother, and friends lives. It was clear the 3, Faraja, Ngasha and Jasiri had found utopia, and when we reflect on their beginnings, it makes the day all the more joyful.

Who would have thought the three orphans would have settled into their new home so seamlessly, and love the forest life, plentiful food, midday mud baths and encounters.

They are now sharing their own stories from the wild, each night as they crowd around and visit with the other orphans in their night stockades.

If you would like to read up more on the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, you can view the following link : https://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/

Faraja moves to Umani

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