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Being Barsilinga | Chapter 7 "Barsilinga Overcomes an Injury"

Barsilinga and elephant family
The seventh chapter in our series following the remarkable story of Barsilinga, the rescued orphan elephant who remains an inspiration for Love Brand founders Oliver & Rose Tomalin.
Barsilinga The Elephant The Sheldrick Wildlife TrustImage © Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Barsilinga’s new-found independence was an exciting adventure for the baby elephant, if a little daunting at first! During the first few years at Ithumba, Barsilinga, Kithaka and Lemoyian were still dependent on their milk bottles and liked to remain near the keepers. It was clear that Lemoyian and Barsilinga were able to settle in at Ithumba very quickly and the two were relaxed and adjusted well to their new home. Whilst Kithaka struggled a little bit more, after three days he soon caught up with the others.

Many of the older, wild-living orphans such as Sidai and Lenana were fascinated by the youngsters and followed the newcomers around everywhere they went! It seemed that they were determined not to let the babies out of their sight. For the three graduates, it was a bit of a shock to be in the presence of these much bigger elephants, however little did they know the older females would soon become parental figures for them. Whilst they had become used to being the eldest at the Nursery, the three boys quickly adapted to the new hierarchy!
Barsilinga The Elephant The Sheldrick Wildlife TrustBarsilinga playing with Kithaka
Image © Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Last year however, Barsilinga’s progress was halted slightly due to a nasty foot injury when a sharp stick got wedged into the sole of his foot. The wound was treated and seemed to be healing, although after some time it became infected causing the poor elephant lots of pain, bringing on a limp. Barsilinga’s injury made him vulnerable and led him to become more reliant on the keepers as his foot needed daily cleaning, which meant that he couldn’t join his friends for their daily walks and games, instead prompting him to stick closer to home with the keepers and the younger dependent orphans.

We are thrilled to see that in recent months, Barsilinga has made a strong recovery. His friends and age-mates were eager to encourage him to join them once again in their jaunts and explorations and he has even managed to participate in a few ‘sleepouts’ with them lately! The keepers are still keeping Barsilinga under their watchful eye as they monitor his foot, despite his eagerness to be out with his friends, which sometimes results in Barsilinga giving the keepers the slip and sneaking off!

The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust not only supports the orphans during their time at the Reintegration Units but also during their time in the wild. With the ever-increasing issue of climate change, rain patterns are less frequent and less predictable. Natural sources such as rivers are drying up and, since 2009, hundreds of elephants have died in Kenya from the effects of drought. In 2017 alone, the drought in Tsavo claimed the lives of approximately 400 elephants. The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has implemented a wide range of measures to provide permanent and seasonal water relief for wildlife. This includes installing boreholes where aquifers are in existence and the water table is high, transporting water to remote areas, as well as strategically positioned water troughs.
Barsilinga The Elephant The Sheldrick Wildlife TrustWater Project
Image © Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Discover more and donate to our remarkable charity partner Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.