Aug. 5, 2015 UPDATE BELOW
Despite worldwide outrage over the killing of Cecil the lion, the big cat lured just outside a national park in Zimbabwe, the poaching continues elsewhere in Africa.
A new horror has been discovered in Kenya just this week with the slaughter of five elephants in Tsavo West National Park on Monday, according to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Yet, the world has barely noticed.
Despite it, some hope: One baby elephant has been saved and three poachers have been arrested.
But the reasons for the poaching – and statistics – remain staggering.
“All killed to satisfy a demand for ivory from people that wish to display and wear something that only has real value to an elephant,” the trust posted to its Facebook page. “We talk of an elephant being killed every 15 minutes for its ivory, a shocking statistic, yet in this tragic incident, 5 elephants were killed in a minute!”
Security teams arrived in the region from the air and by land, armed with tracker dogs, after the first report came in on the night of the July 27 killings.
“The lifeless corpses of five slain elephants, with their ivory missing, lay strewn within fifty metres of each other,” the trust said.
By the next day, the first of the suspects were caught. On July 29, the organization said “a tiny victim from this ghastly incident” was found alive. An elephant calf, aged six to seven months, was scooped up, taken to a rescue plane bound for Nairobi.
And, miraculously, he is doing pretty well.
“Surprisingly, despite his ordeal of having witnessed his whole family gunned down at the hands of humans, he has been friendly from the outset, needy of company and attention and clearly grateful to have been saved. After his terrifying 38 hours he has responded immediately to the company of the other orphans in our care, not wanting to leave their sides since arrival.”
The orphaned calf has been named Losoito, after the hill not far from where he was found.
UPDATE: Aug. 5, 2015
Sadly, Losoito couldn’t pull through.
“It is with deep sadness that we share with you news of Losoito’s passing, the little calf rescued from the massacre in Tsavo last week that killed his family.
Having seen his family killed and butchered for their tusks, Losoito was understandably deeply traumatised by the time we reached him on 29th July. Though our Keepers did all they could, he developed diarrhea and sadly passed away on Sunday 2nd August.
We are thankful that in his few days with us, at a time when he needed it most, he received love and care; even trusting our Keepers despite the barbarity meted out to his family at the hands of humans.
Losoito’s death takes the toll of the deadly massacre to six elephants killed in the name of the ivory trade; threatening a majestic species to the point of extinction so that an elephant’s tusks can be displayed on a mantle as a symbol of wealth.”