Whisked Away: A Tale of Elephant Translocation to Tsavo’s Ithumba Reintegration Unit

In a recent heartwarming move, three lively elephant calves – Esampu, Mteto, and Mundusi – found themselves embarking on a new adventure to the Ithumba Reintegration Unit within Tsavo’s expansive conservation area.

This relocation is part of a larger initiative by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) to transition their young Nursery elephants to one of the three reintegration units.

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Previously, six of the oldest Nursery orphans, including the beloved mini matriarch Mbegu, were transferred to the Voi Reintegration Unit in late May.

The latest journey on June 1 brought the mischievous trio to the Ithumba Unit, presenting a unique challenge for Benjamin, the head keeper, due to their playful antics.

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Esampu, known for her mischievous streak since birth, led the trio alongside Mteto and Mundusi.

The decision to move them was prompted by the absence of Mini Matriarch Mbegu in the Nursery herd, as the trio’s mischief without her calming influence posed a risk.

To ensure a smooth transition, the keepers opted for a surprise loading approach rather than the usual training methods, successfully avoiding complications during the early morning departure from Nairobi.

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The arrival at the Ithumba stockades at 9:00 am unfolded seamlessly, with the three elephants stepping out composedly.

Reuniting with old friends and gradually integrating into small groups of dependent orphans, the newcomers, Maramoja, Rapa, and Pare, were warmly welcomed.

The news of their arrival spread quickly, attracting the attention of ex-orphans and wild friends.

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A thrilling atmosphere ensued as ex-orphans trumpeted and charged around, creating excitement and trepidation for the new arrivals.

Despite the commotion, Esampu remained unfazed, while Mteto sought safety close to her friend, and Mundusi expressed occasional baby cries.

They continued the day with a lively scene at the mud bath area, where wild bulls, ex-orphans, and dependent orphans engaged in a refreshing swim.

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Later, courtship rituals among the wild elephants added excitement, requiring keepers to stay vigilant to prevent potential “kidnapping” attempts.

Despite the overwhelming attention, Esampu, Mteto, and Mundusi adapted well to their new surroundings.

Their smooth transition marks the beginning of a fresh chapter at Ithumba, where they will receive love, attention, and protection from caretakers for the next several years.

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The DSWT remains committed to their long-term well-being, focusing on fostering independence over the next five to eight years through interaction with older fellow orphans.

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Read more Elephant News.

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