Heartbreaking News: Our Beloved Oldepe Has Passed Away

It is with heavy hearts that we share the devastating news of the passing of our beloved elephant, Oldepe. His decline was swift and unexpected, leaving us all in shock and deep sorrow. Oldepe had recently transitioned from the Nursery to our Ithumba Reintegration Unit, where he joined his companions Roho and Neshashi. His integration into Tsavo had been seamless, as he adapted effortlessly to his new home, actively participating in herd activities and relishing every meal.

However, over the weekend, Oldepe’s health took a sudden and concerning turn. He became lethargic and showed no interest in food. Despite thorough medical examinations and tests conducted by two veterinarians, Dr. Limo of the SWT/KWS Tsavo Mobile Vet Unit and our Nairobi-based veterinarian, there were no apparent injuries or symptoms to guide them in diagnosing his condition.

We faced a challenging situation as we tried to assist our dear Oldepe. Veterinary recommendations were followed, including administering medication to prevent potential infections and providing drips and rehydration to restore his strength. Yet, we encountered a heartbreaking obstacle: Oldepe refused to eat anything except water, despite the tireless efforts of our dedicated Keepers who spent countless hours by his side, urging him to take even a small bite.

We explored the possibility of inserting a feeding tube for Oldepe, but regrettably, it was not a feasible option. Placing a feeding tube in a standing elephant is an extremely complex procedure and carries the risk of aspiration pneumonia, making it too distressing for him. Tragically, Oldepe ultimately succumbed to his refusal to eat. Elephants require substantial amounts of food to survive, and after several days without nourishment, he grew too weak to carry on.

The untimely loss of our young elephant has left us all in profound grief. Despite the sadness, we can find solace in the fact that Oldepe had a peaceful passing, surrounded by his devoted caretakers who showered him with love until his last moments. He will forever hold a special place in our hearts.

Oldepe, a spirited young bull elephant, will be remembered for his resilient spirit and unexpected playful personality. During the severe drought that afflicted Kenya from 2021 to 2022, Oldepe was among the elephants who fought tenaciously for survival. Discovered in the swamps of Amboseli last November, he was weak and visibly relieved to be found after a prolonged period of solitude and hardship.

As we introduced Oldepe to our family of orphaned elephants, his mischievous nature became evident. He delighted in playful games of hide-and-seek with his Keepers, often disappearing into the bush when it was time to return home. Each time the Keepers spotted him, he would scamper away, finding a new hiding spot and adding an element of fun to their daily routine.

The Keepers soon realized that Oldepe was simply enjoying harmless fun and decided to change their approach. Instead of actively searching for him, they patiently waited at the stockades. Their prediction proved correct when Oldepe eventually emerged from the forest and made his way straight to his sleeping quarters. While his playful behavior initially raised concerns among the Keepers, it was heartwarming to witness Oldepe finally experiencing moments of joy after enduring such a challenging and solitary period before his rescue.

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