By Judith Sibanda
Victoria Falls, February 06, 2016 – A stray baby elephant that was rescued near Hwange National Park and airlifted to a nursery in Harare after its mother was killed by poachers has died.
The calf named Little Africa died on early this week at the nursery, Wildlife At Risk International (WAR) announced in a statement.
A bruised Little Africa was rescued in Dete roaming around the area and being chased by locals.
WAR said the death of the baby elephant was a reminder of the scourge of poaching at the country’s nature reserves.
“Zimbabwe – another baby lost because his mother was brutally murdered by poachers, sadly little Africa passed away last (Tuesday) night,” WAR said.
“Rest in peace little elephant child. It was a brutal battle that you fought, from the beginning to end.”
The calf was rescued through a response coordinate by Wild is Life Trust and Zen after it “was spotted running in a mad panic, through a small town”.
“He was covered in blood, dehydrated and severely traumatised. He was being chased by people and dogs, utterly confused and terrified,” the trust said on its Facebook page at the time.
The young elephant was eventually subdued by a team of local residents who gave it water and washed off the blood.
The calf was housed in a warm container, bedded down with grass before being airlifted to the Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery in Harare.
On January 27, Wild is Life Trust posted a video of little Africa swimming in mud with other elephants.
After the rescue of Little Africa, the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management authority discovered that three elephant cows had been killed in the area by poachers.
The suspected poachers were immediately arrested but the tusks were not recovered, Wildlife is Life Trust said.
Zimbabwe’s national parks have witnessed an upsurge in cases of poaching in recent years and conservationists last month said they had observed an increase in the number of poachers from neighbouring Zambia especially in Matabeleland North.