Most people would agree that wild animals are beautiful and majestic beings to behold, but unfortunately, this wonder doesn’t always translate into respect for these animals. Elephants, for example, are the frequent victims of the ivory trade and their herds are killed and pillaged for their tusks. Sadly, adult elephants aren’t the only victims of this trade, the babies who are left behind are too plagued by this senseless industry.
Luckily, there are amazing organizations like the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) who are working to help rescue these little ones. The beautiful transformation of Murka, an elephant found in 2010 with a spear embedded deep in her skull, is just one example of the amazing work DSWT does. Named after the area where she had been found, Murka was under the vigilant and loving care of DSWT until she finally returned to the wild.
Back in 2010 when she arrived at the sanctuary, Murka’s condition was critical. She was barely alive and had a spear lodged eight-inches deep in her forehead. The baby elephant was flown to the Nairobi Nursery where she immediately received the intensive care she so urgently needed to survive.
The wounds were so severe that they damaged Murka’s sinuses. Upon arrival at her new home, she collapsed several times, weak and exhausted from the pain. She could not draw water through her trunk and her breath could be seen through her forehead. In the picture, one of Murka’s carers demonstrates how the spear was used to wound the animal…
It took months of daily wound care for the injuries to gradually heal and for the poor elephant to finally be able to draw up water through her trunk again – first in very small amounts. Since she had experienced such unbelievable trauma, Murka needed a lot of time to start trusting people. But, finally, she learned to accept her human carers and, slowly, even like them.
As she was recovering, the baby was taken care of by the Nursery matriarch Suguta who made sure that other elephants were gentle with her. With time, Murka started playing with her new friends and was discovering all the little joys of her new life.
Fully healed, in 2011 Murka graduated to the Ithumba Reintegration Unit. There, she learned all the necessary skills she would need to live as a wild elephant.
Her incredible story came to a happy ending in 2016 when Murka was old enough to return to the wild. Together with a group of other elephants, Murka is now roaming Tsavo, an area protected by DSWT’s Anti-Poaching and Aerial Surveillance initiatives. But she has not completely abandoned the place and the people who had given her a second chance at life – she often comes back to say hello to her human family!
Murka got the most wonderful end to her story of transformation and healing. Even though she started out barely alive, gravely wounded, and in pain, she managed to come out of that terrible chapter of her life as unscathed as she could be after the trauma. Now, she has many, many years of happiness ahead of her!
To learn more about the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, click here.
You can support the organization and their work for elephants by donating.
All image source: The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust/Facebook