"71" returns to the wild
Animal Stories from All-Creatures.org

From Pat Derby and Ed Stewart, founders of PAWS (Performing Animal Welfare Society)
April 2012

When Ed and I were fighting to keep our precious baby elephant, 71, alive, we dreamed of returning her to Africa. We purchased ARK 2000 for her, but we always knew she deserved more.

When we lost her from the cumulative effects of capture, we were devastated. We could not alleviate the pain of her loss; but, last month, we had the opportunity to name one of the elephant calves in the Amboseli, 71.

The Amboseli Trust for Elephants has a unique program for people wanting to become more intimately involved in their ongoing research project. It is a naming program in which one of their known individual elephants is given a name chosen by a donor.

They generally don't name calves until they are four years old. Before that, the calf has a code name based on its mother's name and year of birth, but for their naming program, ATE will name calves as young as 18 months to two years.

No other calf will have the chosen name; it is a very exclusive program, not like an adoption program in which hundreds of people might adopt the same elephant. This name will go down in the research project records and be used forever. The namer receives a recent photo of the calf, a naming certificate, a description and history of the calf's family, and will also receive periodic updates over the years.

We have just received photos of 71, and her mother, Sabaki, from Cynthia Moss, and we are euphoric!

elephant wild Pat Derby

Below: "71" and Malugie, with her mother, Maria

elephant wild Pat Derby  elephant wild Pat Derby

elephant wild Pat Derby 
Ambosell baby "71"

This new baby elephant in the Amboseli epitomizes our hope for the future when elephants will only breed in wild habitats which are protected.

We also named a second baby, Malugie, for Mara, Lulu and Maggie. For PAWS, these two babies are the hope of the future.

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