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

Name Gender Date Born Location Found Age on Arrival Comments Reason for being Orphaned
 MELIA  Female  Thursday, July 3, 2008 Near the Mombasa Pipeline opposite the Ndara plains in Tsavo East National Park  1 year  The calf was found all alone by our De-snaring team with no other elephants in sight  Poaching 

Latest Updates on MELIA:

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

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

9/25/2018 - The fifteen wild bulls that arrived at the water troughs this morning we joined by Rapsu, Buchuma, Kenze, Kandecha, Chemi Chemi, Kalama, Melia, Tumaren, Zurura and Meibai. The orphans soon settled for their lucerne pellets as soon as they exited the stockades, the ex orphans were very happy to join them and exchanged greeting by entwining trunks and trumpeting. Kandecha, who seemed to have woken up in bad mood, gave the orphans a hard time as he kept pushing them around simply because he wanted to have all the pellets for himself. At last the Keepers had to intervene and put an end to Kandecha’s bullying/pestering/harassing. Turkwel started her day with a soil dusting exercise, enticing both Esampu and Mteto to join. They stopped briefly to watch Mundusi lose a strength testing game to Rapsu. The ex orphans decided to accompany the orphans up to the mud bath area and thereafter parted ways. The rebel group consisting of Laragai, Kithaka, Garzi, Lemoyian and Barsilinga left with the ex-orphans and were not seen or heard from until they returned to the stockades around 5pm. In the afternoon, the orphans chose to browse in upper Kalovoto area. Wanjala settled to browse with Kamok as Rapa, Oltaiyoni, Siangiki and Olsekki took a break from browsing and relaxed under a tree. They only resumed browsing much later when the temperatures were more favorable. Galana, Gawa, Sunyei, Siku, Lualeni, Chyulu, Lenana and Ololoo showed up in the evening to quench their thirst at the water troughs, and left soon after.

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

 The Rescue vehicle at the airstrip Melia at the Voi Unit Stockade
The Rescue vehicle at the airstrip
photo taken on 8/6/2009
Melia at the Voi Unit Stockade
photo taken on 6/28/2009


During the late evening of Saturday 27th June, a yearling female calf was found all alone by our De-Snaring team near the Mombasa Pipeline opposite the Ndara plains in Tsavo East National Park. There were no wild elephant herds in sight, and since there were also a lot of lions in the area, our Voi Elephant Keepers were alerted that a rescue was imminently needed to save the life of this calf who probably would not survive another night out alone. Baby elephants definitely cannot survive without milk if orphaned under 3 years of age, and few manage to survive even when orphaned between 3 and 5 years of age. Whilst wild living elephants will usually accept and protect an orphaned baby to the best of their ability, once the orphan weakens as a result of milk deprivation, and begins to jeopardize the survival of the herd, the Matriarch has to make the decision to abandon it to its fate in the interests of all the others under her leadership. There are very few, if any, elephants that will have to lactating capacity to nurture an orphan as well as their own calf, especially during a tough dry spell, and calves at foot themselves are extremely possessive of their mother’s milk bar, and will go to great lengths to prevent another from usurping what they view as their prerogative.

The DSWT team capture the orphan  Capturing the calf

Loading the orphan on to rescue vehicle at Ndara  Melia at the Voi Unit Stockade

With the help of KWS Rangers, our Voi Elephant Keepers were able to overpower the abandoned calf, and having covered its head with a blanket and bound its legs, transported it back to the Voi Stockades for the night where it took water, and a little milk from a bucket. The next morning it was airlifted to the Nairobi Nursery., initially named “Sombe” after the KWS Security Commander, but later renamed Melia after the African Mohogany Trees (Melia Volkensi) which are a feature of the area ad were planted by the late David Sheldrick around the Headquarters and at the 5 Entrance Gages to Tsavo East National Park.

The Rescue vehicle at the airstrip  The calf is lifted off the truck and into the plane

The calf is under stress from the whole experience of being orphaned & rescued

The DSWT rescue team lift the orphan into the rescue plane

Melia, a feisty elephant upon arrival

Little “Melia” was quite feisty upon arrival in the Nursery (a good sign) and gave her Keepers quite a run around during her first night in the stockade abutting that of Tassia. However, she took water from a bucket and during the night managed some milk from a bottle, though not without a struggle. However, having been in the stockade for 24 hours, and observed the behaviour of the other Nursery orphans around their Keepers, she had calmed down sufficiently to suck the Keepers’ fingers and take milk.

Melia upon arrival at the Nairobi Nursery  Melia

Melia and her keeper


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