Remembering Pea at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya.
Hi folks, for those of you following my blog for a while, you may have read my story on our fun trip to the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya last summer. We had visited the Sheldrick Orphanage in August of last year and stopped by their facility during their feeding hour to see baby elephants being fed by their caregivers. To read my original post on our excursion to this special animal orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya click on this link Visit to The David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya.
In my article I mentioned an ostrich named Pea who was adopted by the Sheldrick Shelter. Pea was an adorable ostrich 🤗. I still remember the way she trotted down the path along with all the baby elephants as if she were one of them. We were all confused, we were only expecting baby elephants to come for their milk during the feeding hour, and here was Pea walking alongside with the elephants with confidence.
Pea looked like she was just one of the family hanging out with her brothers and sister elephants eating acacia leaves and branches like the rest of them. It was the funniest sight to see.
The Sheldrick Wildlife Orphanage focuses on saving orphaned elephants and rhinos, but the story of how Pea the ostrich ended up at the shelter is a serendipitous one. According to the Sheldrick shelter’s web site, back in 2014 while saving an orphaned baby elephant, the shelter also found two orphaned ostrich chicks and ended up saving all three babies. The shelter named the two ostrich chicks Pea and Pod.
As Pea and Pod got older Pod became a troublemaker at the shelter. He would attack the caregivers at the facility and started creating havoc at the center.
In my original post on our visit to The Sheldrick Shelter I had mentioned that their facility borders the Nairobi National Park and there is no fence separating the shelter and the park. This makes it easy for the Keepers at the shelter to take the orphaned elephants out into the wild and teach them how to feed and fend for themselves. They did the same with Pea and Pod to help them learn to mingle with other wild ostriches. One day on one of these visits the caregivers couldn’t find Pod. They assumed he decided to join a group of wild ostriches they had seen at the park as they had noticed him hanging out with them during their previous visits. Since then the Keepers are pretty sure they have seen Pod at the park with all the other wild ostriches during their visits there.
Pea on the other hand was a very sweet ostrich and she hung around at the shelter and became part of the family of elephants living there. When we saw Pea last year she was always with the young elephants, she looked like she was part of their family. According to The Sheldrick Center: “She was a treasured favorite of everyone, and it was indeed an incongruous spectacle to see an ostrich amongst our orphaned elephants, behaving as though one of them! Sometimes she would siesta with the babies in the afternoon, happy to let the young elephants rest upon her soft feathers while sleeping, and was only ever gentle and nurturing towards them.”
The Sheldrick web site describes Pea as a loving sibling who “adored the baby elephants, who were after all the only family she had ever known and grown to love dearly, and chose to remain close. In fact she loved the baby elephants so much so that we all firmly believe that she truly thought she was one of them, shepherding them around with outspread wings and allowing then to comfort suckle her soft thighs, covering them protectively with her wings.”
Sadly a month ago Hitesh got a newsletter with an update from the David Sheldrick Shelter that Pea had passed away. According to the newsletter they were on their daily feeding walk at the Nairobi National Park when they came upon three lions chasing a herd of impalas, seeing that chaotic scene caused the orphaned elephants and Pea to run in a panic in different directions. After some time the caregivers were able to round up all the young elephants but could not find Pea. Concerned they widened their search distance and came upon a lion kill but the keepers couldn’t get close as the male and female lions were still eating the fresh kill. The shelter’s keepers decided to return in a jeep to get a closer look and found that the lions had indeed killed Pea 😞.
Pea passing away is really sad for our family because we just saw her a few months ago and she made an impact on us. To see a large ostrich walking among a herd of elephants as if they are all one big family – it has that feel good effect on you. How can two different species act like they are part of one big happy family? The human race should take a lesson from Pea and the orphaned elephants.
To read a heart-felt eulogy for Pea by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and a brief story of Pea and Pod take a look at this link. Remembering Pea
To read my original post on our visit to this special animal orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya click on this link Visit to The David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya.
Rest in peace Pea. We will miss you😢