The following is information on the Elephant Orphan named: LUALENI  (foster now)

Name Gender Date Born Location Found Age on Arrival Comments Reason for being Orphaned
 LUALENI  Female  Thursday, July 29, 2004 Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary  estimated 4 months  She was found abandoned, and despite trying to join other herds seemed to be rejected by all. She was quite obviously an orphan, her mother suspected dead.  Poaching 

Latest Updates on LUALENI:

View to Location map for LUALENI (opens a new window)

Most Recent Keeper's Diary Entry: (view all the latest entries for LUALENI)

12/12/2017 - Shortly past midnight, Laragai managed to open the gate and all are her friends happily walked out to join Mutara and her group who were relaxing outside. It was the first time that Siangiki, Olsekki, Enkikwe, Sokotei spent half of the night feeding outside. In the morning, they came back with Orwa, Bomani and Narok and briefly joined the juniors for lucerne before heading to the bush. Kauro moved a distance away from the rest where he fed quietly without disturbance, while Namalok took a break from feeding to participate in a wet soil bath. Sapalan held a brief conversation with the cool Shukuru while Boromoko and Olsekki decided that work without play made Jack a dull boy, and so for some time enjoyed a wrestling match that ended in a draw. When the sun became too hot, the independent Kamok found a suitable tree with nice shade where she relaxed for awhile before resuming browsing.

At mud bath time, the orphans were joined briefly by Wendi, Lualeni, Loijuk, Zurura, Lenana, Makena, Kilaguni, Chaimu, Ithumbah, Makireti and two wild elephants. Amazingly Wiva, Wendi’s baby, was nowhere to be seen and Wendi seemed unfazed; she must have stayed with her other nannies. Galla tried to challenge Makena to a pushing game but Makena was too strong for him, so Galla surrendered by turning and walking away. In the evening, the orphans passed by mud bath where they had an evening cool-off before heading back to the stockade.

The Two Latest Photos of LUALENI: (view gallery of pictures for LUALENI)

 Lualeni with Leluruk having her midday bottle Lualeni joins the other orphans out in the bush the next day
Lualeni with Leluruk having her midday bottle
photo taken on 1/10/2005
Lualeni joins the other orphans out in the bush the next day
photo taken on 11/29/2004


She was seen sleeping under the shade of a tree, all alone, in Hilton Hotels Taita Hills Sanctuary, with no other elephants nearby, and since she was only about 4 months old, she was obviously an orphan doomed to die with no chance of survival without her mother’s milk in a wild situation. The staff of the Sanctuary watched the calf for a full day as she tried to join other herds but was each time left behind as the herds moved off. They could see that she was already losing strength and would be lost to predators unless rescued, and was quite obviously an orphan. The Taita Hills Sanctuary was once part of private land known as Lualeni Ranch, originally owned by a Briton. However, when the original owner died, Hilton Hotels International purchased 28,000 acres as a tourist venue for their clientele.

Lualeni, found alone sleeping under a tree.  Lualeni was estimated to be about 4 months old

The Sanctuary lies South East of the Taita Hills, accessed off the road between Voi and the Kenya/Tanzanian border town of Taveta. Its Western boundary abuts Tsavo West National Park, its Northern Boundary privately owned ranchlands abutting Tsavo East National Park and its Southern Boundary, what is left of the original Lualeni Ranch, now occupied by tribesmen and their livestock. Hilton Hotels constructed two large tourist lodges within the Sanctuary, one, named Taita Hills Lodge and a second called Salt Lick Lodge. Taita Hills lodge is modelled on a German Fort, commemorating the fighting that took place in this part of the world during the First World War between the British, who were Colonizers of Kenya, and Germans, colonizers of what used to be Tanganyika, fighting under the command of the legendary General von Lettow Vorbeck who was never defeated. Some famous battles took place here, notably The Battle of Salaita Hill, which resulted in two Victoria Cross Medals for the British, the highest award for outstanding gallantry usually given posthumously. One such VC holder is buried in the War Cemetry in Voi. The second lodge within the Sanctuary is Salt Lick Lodge, comprised of a series of rondavels on stilts overlooking a swampy area of the Bura river which is a popular venue for wild animals, both large and small. Another tourist feature of the Sanctuary is the James Stewart River House, overlooking a series of beautiful pools on the upper reaches of the Bura river, and so named in honour of the famous actor, James Stewart, who starred in “A tale of Africa” funded by the Japanese and filmed by Simon Trevor in the late seventies and early eighties. This house serves as a barbecue venue for group functions and tourists staying at the two Hilton Lodges.

She seemed resigned to her fate and didn't resist  She immediately drank a bottle of milk

At one time the wildlife within the Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary enjoyed tight security, but, unhappily, in recent times, the Sanctuary has been somewhat neglected and subjected to rampant bush-meat poaching through the setting of wire snares. The elephants who move through the Sanctuary periodically on migration between Tsavo West and East are now very much at risk due to this rampant bush-meat trade (a living example being our orphan “Burra” who was almost strangled by a wire noose) and also due to the inevitable human/wildlife conflict brought about by the presence of a burgeoning human population on ancient traditional migration routes between the two Tsavos and neighbouring ranchlands.

Her legs were strapped for the journey to Voi  At Voi she joined the  orphans in their stockade

The next day she was flown up to Nairobi to the nursery  She fell asleep while being transported from the airport to the Nursery in the Trust's vehicle

Our Elephant Keepers and Mobile Veterinary Unit were mobilized, and little “Lualeni” was rescued in the evening of Saturday 27th November, without a struggle, simply happy to be offered rehydration and a bottle of milk. She was loaded into the back of the Trust’s pickup and taken to the Voi Stockades for the night, since it was too late to fly her to the Nursery that day. At the Stockades, immediately she was welcomed by the older orphans, Icholta and Natumi being her little mothers for the night, since Emily, Aitong and Sweet Sally are no longer in the Stockades at night, but free to roam outside, usually turning up in the morning to join the other orphans, or meeting up with them out in the bush. (Emily and Aitong, our two older “Matriarchs”, now want to be out and about at night, and since Sweet Sally is inseparable from Aitong, she is outside as well. We tried to encourage Loisaba to keep Emily company, but she was having none of it!)

On arrival at the Nursery she immediately fed again.  Lualeni joins the other orphans out in the bush the next day

And so, little Lualeni spent the night cosseted by the older group, and was flown to the Nairobi Nursery the following day, arriving at lunch time. She seemed to show no resistence from the onset and was happy to take milk from a bottle, and following the Keepers as she would her mother. However, she was very tired, and slept a lot that first day and night. The next morning, the eight Nursery elephants came in a group to meet her, and immediately Sunyei had decided that this was going to be her special baby. However despite the best efforts from all the other orphans it took Lualeni months to begin to play and become a happy elephant again. In fact she was dull for so long that we worried that maybe she was brain damaged slightly. The transformation came overnight but about four months after her rescue. She suddenly began to have a bounce in her step and play and mix normally with the others and forget the horrendous circumstances around her being orphaned.

Sunyei is very gentle and tender with the new calf  Lualeni bonds with Sunyei


Please see the resources above for more information on LUALENI

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