“From Orphaned to Overcoming: Barnoti’s Journey through Tough Times”

Barnoti, who was already an orphan, unfortunately became a victim of the most challenging of circumstances. But thank goodness there was a rescue mission to save him.

Amboseli Trust for Elephants (ATE) announced the birth of a new member in April 2019 to the BC family in Amboseli. The little one was born to Bouenza, who was a well-known female within the Amboseli ecosystem. She had given birth to several calves previously, and her two daughters were still alongside her. The arrival of a baby boy, named Barnoti, was surely joyous news for this closely bonded female-only family.

In November of 2020, Bouenza, a leading elephant, passed away due to natural causes. Unfortunately, she left behind her 19-month-old calf, Barnoti. While it is typically too young for an orphaned elephant to survive on their own, these were not normal circumstances. The heavy rainfall provided plenty of vegetation for Barnoti to eat in place of his mother’s milk. Additionally, he was fortunate to have two older sisters who took great care of him during this difficult time.

In the latter part of 2021, things took a drastic turn. The rains that were expected never came, and this led to a severe shortage of food for all creatures. It made survival a challenge, especially for young animals like Barnoti, who needed proper nutrition to grow. As time passed, his health began to deteriorate, and he could no longer keep up with his family. Eventually, on 19th October 2021, the Amboseli warden found Barnoti in a critical condition, all alone. After alerting ATE, we were informed that an orphaned calf needed rescuing.

As soon as we got the call, we sprang into action and put together a rescue mission. Throughout the entire process, the ATE team and the SWT/KWS Amboseli Mobile Vet Unit stayed put to ensure that Barnoti didn’t wander too far or get lost in the swamp. As the plane drew near, they managed to safely capture Barnoti and bring him over to the airstrip.

The rescue of Barnoti was quite the feat, considering his size at two and a half years old. It took a lot of teamwork to safely secure him in the aircraft and send him on his way to Nairobi. Fortunately, our experienced Keeper Peter was there to keep him calm during the flight. After a successful journey, they arrived safely at the Nursery later that day.

When facing drought, survival can be a precarious situation. Our team was ready to do everything we could to save Barnoti’s life, but thankfully he adapted quickly and seamlessly. The other young elephants were thrilled to have a new friend around and would often congregate outside his enclosure. Despite being weak from his ordeal, Barnoti was outgoing and eager to explore the surrounding forest with his new companions. However, it was important to take things slow and allow him time to regain his strength before fully integrating him with the rest of the herd. Despite this, Barnoti was eager to progress and join the others as soon as possible.

Barnoti’s debut outing with fellow cows

Barnoti, a juvenile elephant, has already had his fair share of challenges in life. It’s heart-wrenching to think that he lost his lovely mother at such a young age and his older sisters had to abandon him. Nonetheless, Barnoti is resilient, and he now has a chance to build a new family with us. He is now completely integrated into the Nursery herd and idolizes Mukkoka, who appears to be a very impressive bull to him. Moreover, he is gradually developing a bond with Taabu, another new member of the group.

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