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The following is AJOK's Orphan Profile.
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Quick Facts about  AJOK

Gender  Male Date of Birth  May 1990
Location Found  Turkana/Turkwell
Age on Arrival  1 week
Comments on Place Found  Found in a river bed in Turkana/ Turkwell. Thought to be orphaned by poaching
Reason for being Orphaned  Poaching

Ajok is a desert elephant, born in one of the harshest and most arid environments of Kenya, Turkana country, which is a virtual lava desert bordering Lake Turkana, formerly known as Lake Rudolf. It is the very hardy elephants that remain in this hostile environment, where life is governed by the survival of the fittest, and a heavy death toll is taken of the young due to environmental challenges, as well as having the misfortune of being born in an area where the long arm of the law extends no protection. The name of this calf, Ajok is the word for Hallo in the Turkana tribal dialect, and it is appropriate indeed, for tribesmen happened upon this tiny week old calf wandering along a dry riverbed, all alone. This was such an unusual event, and he was so vulnerable and tiny, and as such so trusting of the humans, that instead of killing him for food, they spared him and instead took him to the nearest Police Post. From there, and in a roundabout way, we were alerted of his presence, and hurriedly set about arranging an air rescue, knowing that he would not have survived the long car journey, having been without milk for several days, and also having been given cows milk, which is death to an elephant baby.

Ajok's rescue  Ajok's rescue

Ajok with Daphne  7/1/1991

Baby Ajok  A keeper getting a big hug from Ajok

However, Ajok was a tough baby, one of the very few who never needed the attentions of a Vet, the product of natural selection through evolution in a harsh and exacting environment where only the toughest of the tough survive. He can also claim to be the most extravert and mischievous of all the orphans, playing to the Gallery whenever he had a human audience in attendance, and since he completed his Nursery period lacking the company of other elephant orphans who were already in Tsavo, he enjoyed the undivided attention of all the human admirers who flocked in to see his antics at the mudbath on a daily basis and his special Zebra friends, the orphaned Zebras in our care at that time.!

Ajok and Magua the zebra  Ajok and Magua the zebra

Ajok and Zebra at mudbath  Mudbath time for Ajok

Ajok in the mudwallow

Ajoki and Zebra friends

Ajok can claim the place of being perhaps our most successful orphan, in that he joined the wild herds on a permanent basis when still only 6 years old, which was surprising in view of the fact that he was so young when brought in, and would have had no recollection of his mother or elephants generally. As such he successfully accomplished the transition much younger than any of the others who had been orphaned so young.

The zebra gets a hug from Ajok  Ajok and his zebra friend

Ajok having mik  Ajok feeding

Ajoki and Zebra friends

From the very beginning, he was a particularly adventurous character, never daunted by anything, even the wild herds, amongst whom he found a particular friend. Having formed such a close friendship with a wild age-mate, rather than with any member of the orphaned group, he has not felt the need to return very regularly.

Eleanor supervizes the Tsavo herd with Ajok in their midst  Ajok greeting his old nursery mates now down in Tsavo

Ajok and Ndume playing  Ajok and Edo

We therefore consider Ajok one of the Trusts true success stories, in fact perhaps the most successful in that he was rescued and raised from infancy and then he was fully rehabilitated younger than any of the others, and was quite comfortable fraternizing with the wild elephant herds around Voi from the age of 4.

Ajok and Ndume  Ajok browsing

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The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust   P.O. Box 15555 Nairobi KenyaThe David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is a non-profit in Kenya, a registered charity in England and Wales (1103836) and is supported by The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust USA, a 501(c)(3) in the United States.

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