Long'uro, Reteti Elephant Sanctuary, Namunyak Community Conservancy, northern Kenya
When all logic had suggested that an elephant calf which had been rescued from a sand river well whilst separated from its herd, and whose trunk had been torn off by hyenas during the night was not considered capable of survival, it was the community at Reteti in northern Kenya which disagreed. And so it was that I found myself at sunrise at the beginning of Long’uro’s life here, with Mary. It was obvious to me that in spite of all the extraordinary medical skills surrounding him at this time, no-one really knew what to do. When I first saw Long’uro (meaning ‘cut’ in Samburu) I was utterly speechless. He was so deeply traumatised; his eyes rolled wildly, his head flailed from side to side, he stopped moving only to reach up and scratch where his trunk had once been. On occasion he mock charged; more out of habit than fear, and the result of the smallest impact caused him to squeal with a gut-wrenching sound I’ll never forget. Mary cared for him from day one — and still does today, now he’s a strong and vital member of the orphans at Reteti. I don’t have the ability to describe how she does what she does. Mary was faced with an individual who craved love, and yet feared contact because it resulted in physical pain. She therefore had to develop an entirely different method of support for him and a language with which to communicate, to include feeding, washing and mud baths. From a story photographed for National Geographic in 2020. With huge thanks to all those who let me simply ‘be’ in their lives through this unprecedented and complex time.
Limited edition hand c-type prints by master printer Brian O’Leary, are printed to order in the following sizes and editions.
Each print is signed, dated and numbered by David on the front. Certificates of authenticity are provided and come affixed to the back of the frame, or included with the print if shipped unframed.