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  • Writer's pictureSimone Corprew

Baby Elephants and a Rhino Adopted During Fundraiser

Baby Elephants and a Rhino Adopted During Fundraiser

Naleku, a 20-month-old African elephant baby, and Apollo, a baby rhino, are two of the four babies auctioned off in the Wimberley Players "Sustain Us!" fundraiser and online auction that ended Nov. 15. Now at 16 months, Naleku became an orphan when her mother died in the Masai Mara savannah in southwestern Kenya. As a six-month-old calf, she was unable to survive more than a day without her mother's milk and most likely would have succumbed to nighttime predators. Scouts from the Mara Elephant Project alerted rescuers from the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust who captured her and flew her by plane to their wildlife refuge in Nairobi. Naleku's proud foster mother is Dr. Nancy Bottorff of Minneapolis, MN. Baby Apollo, a black rhino calf was seen standing next to his dead mother on a routine aerial check of old poachers' hideouts in the Tsavo West National Park. A daring and difficult capture ensued before he was transported into care. Since then he has developed the sweet habit of folding his mattress over his body, possibly to mimic his mother's form above him. Autopsies revealed that Apollo's mother died of anthrax; most animals in the area are orphaned through illegal poaching. Apollo's proud rhino mom is Amy Banister of Wimberley. The opportunity to foster each animal child for a year was one of the most popular and hotly contested items in the auction. Fostering orphaned elephants through the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust will be a headliner at next year's online fundraiser.

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