Moses update 5 July
Moses has had an interesting week with some highs and lows. My daughter Cheryl has been home on holiday from Uni and so he has had another person to entertain him and find new things for him to play with – a soft toy that he likes to run his trunk over and put its tail in his mouth especially when he feels a little sleepy and in need of some cuddling, a large exercise ball from Les Bond that he is learning to roll around ( and hopefully start to chase in time) and new bits of interesting vegetation like different sticks, leaves, grasses, vines etc. He has also commandeered a rope halter that I had bought for the horses as he loves ropes, string, electrical cables or anything that he can swing around in his trunk. He investigated the chili paste that was left on the table late one night and got chili all over the tip of his trunk which was a disaster for the poor little guy – he ran to me squealing and rubbed his trunk all over my face to get the chili off – I then cleaned his trunk off and put milk on it to sooth the burning ( stopped after about 10 mins as that was also when my eyelids stopped burning) and he then lay very close to me with his trunk wrapped tightly around my arm grunting softly for about another 20 mins before he fell asleep.
We are noticing more and more how he reacts differently to the male and female human members of his family. He has a very deep, loud rumble to greet male family members and a much softer rumble for female family members, he has never attempted to charge or push any male family members apart from his 2 permanent carers Matimat and Jim but he does get quite pushy with the female family members from time to time. He is much more affectionate with the female family members and tends to gravitate to them as soon as he is a bit tired. He also has very definite ideas about which of his 3 carers he should be with at different times of the day, he goes straight to Matimat when he comes into work in the morning and prefers to be with Matimat than anybody else, mid morning, mid day and mid afternoon he seeks out Jim as his preferential carer and he prefers going for a walk with Jim over anybody else and at 5 in the evening he starts to look for me and will not lie down to go to sleep unless he is with me. He does not like anybody apart from family being around at all late afternoon and early evening and he either avoids them by walking away into another room, giving them “the look” or charging at them and if there are any non-family members in the house at all when he goes to sleep he wakes up every 30 mins or so until midnight and walks around the house to make sure that they are no longer there. He loves the dogs during the day and is very affectionate towards them but as soon as it gets dark he chases them out of the house smacking them with his trunk but he likes the cats sleeping next to him and strokes them with his trunk.
We have an anxious weekend ahead of us as Moses is having a hernia operation. Being orphaned at such a young age he was running around the bush, falling in rivers etc at a time when he would normally have been leading a very quiet life, walking between his mothers legs with he gently guiding him along and helping to steady him and co-ordinate his movements and as a result he developed an umbilical hernia as the opening to the umbilical cord did not close properly, this was not really evident in the first few weeks when he was drinking very small quantities of milk and his skin was very loose around his tummy but as he started to increase his intake and his tummy started to grow the increased pressure on the muscles resulted in a hernia developing. We have been monitoring this closely and have been in regular contact with Dr Ian Parsons who is a renowned wildlife vet and who works a lot with the elephant orphans in Zambia. We agreed, together with Ian, to monitor the development of the hernia and wait as long as possible to do the operation thus giving Moses as much time as possible to grow a bit older and a bit stronger so as to be in the best possible condition to withstand the operation whilst making sure that we did not leave it too long and run the risk of a rupture. The hernia has started to grow and so on Saturday Ian will be travelling from Mazabuka in Zambia to Malawi (a drive of around 10 hours) to perform the operation. Whilst a hernia operation is relatively simple elephants do not react well to anesthetic and so it is a risky exercise for Moses which is why we have felt it wise to incur the cost of bringing in the best possible vet in the region to perform this surgery thus giving him the best possible chance of surviving it. So please Moses supporters around the world, think of him over the weekend as I am sure that positive thoughts and prayers from around the world will help to improve his odds. I will be with Moses throughout his operation and throughout the weekend but will update you all on how it all went on Monday morning.