Jumbo update 19 April 2013
Life at Jumbo has returned to normal after the Chad trip, have caught up with everything at the office, further increased security after our 2nd robbery in a month and intent to get back onto my search for poles for the barn this weekend. I must say that although Chad was emotional with the loss of little Max and the frustration of not having all of my ele supplies I have beautiful memories of a lovely family and some special nights gazing up at the stars and the full moon in the company of an affectionate little elephant. I only spent a short time there but know that there will always be a special little place in my heart that belongs to my time in Chad.
Through Marleen I am now in contact with Carlos in Mozambique and am on call for the next little ele that they find. I know that I am probably lining myself up for some more heartache as so often in these cases by the time the little baby is picked up and the first help given it is often already too late as it takes time to build up the confidence with the authorities that it is possible to save these babies ( even though the odds are still not great at around 50%) and that it is worth giving every single orphan a chance at survival and in the worst case at least a few days or weeks of peace and security instead of an anguished terrified and lonely death.
By visiting each of these countries we are at the very least able to teach people the basic critical care and demonstrate exactly what the little babies need as well as building up a relationship whereby they feel comfortable with phoning me any time day or night to ask for advice or help. I sometimes feel as if we are trying to fill an ocean one teaspoon at a time but I cannot stand by and do nothing and every baby that we do manage to save is one more life and every person that we train is another person on the ground with the knowledge to make a difference.
Our team around the world is growing, through our Jumbo contacts and our WAR contacts and I really do feel that as it gains momentum we are making progress. I am afraid that when it comes to animals that are hurt, frightened or in need of help in any way I become a bit like a lioness defending her cubs and I bang on doors, call people at odd hours and generally make rather a nuisance of myself until I get the results or information that I want for the animal. I must say that everybody on my “call list” has been fantastic and are polite enough not to make rude comments when I call for the 50th time to ask another question as I have had a brain wave in the middle of the night with a possible solution, I promise I do feel bad disturbing you but the drive to keep trying one more thing to save a baby overrides any misgivings. I do feel that I owe it to every baby that comes into my care as well as to the wonderful people all around the world who support us financially and emotionally every step of the way to, if we have to bury a baby, be able to say with a clear conscious that I tried every single thing possible to try and save this life. We follow the tried and tested procedures but when this is no longer working we (under vet advice) try new untested methods as desperate times call for desperate measures and in the case of Moses definitely resulted in us pulling him though a number of near death situations when we had been told that there was nothing more we could do and that we should just accept the fact that he was not meant to live. The untested procedures that we used on Moses and on Max have taught us a lot and increased our “tool box of solutions” in the same way that Doctors, Vets and farmers over the centuries have gradually increased their knowledge of medicine and care of different species through experience. We have hundreds of years of shared experience with our domestic animals but only a small fraction of this with elephants and it is becoming a race against time to gain sufficient experience and knowledge to be able to rear the very young, very traumatised or lactose intolerant babies before the poachers succeed in destroying the species forever.