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

Name Gender Date Born Location Found Age on Arrival Comments Reason for being Orphaned
 TURKWEL  Female  Friday, May 8, 2009 South Turkana Game Reserve  Approximately 4 - 5 months  Tribesman resported her abandoned in a high conflict zone near the Wei Wei River  Poaching 

Latest Updates on TURKWEL:

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

4/6/2017 - The dependent orphans came out of their stockades this morning to meet the Ex Orphans who were ready for some lucerne. Kinna and Kama were among them and they interacted with the orphans, with Kama scratching on her mum's legs. Later on, Wendi and Wiva came in to join the group. We had also Yatta, Galana and Mulika with their babies among them. We had also a group of wild bulls who came for water and some interacted with the orphans as they eat Lucerne. Kama was scratching her trunk on the rock to take the ticks off. Roi and Bongo were eating from the high rock as some lucerne has been dropped there. Suguta and Turkwel were having a chat amongst themselves. Wiva bravely walked straight through the middle of some wild bulls to the water trough and started drinking water without any fear. Half Trunk was among them, struggling to bend down in order to drink water due to his cut trunk. Wiva and Kama with Kinna later came in to the water through and started drinking water together. Yetu on the other side was guarding Wiva in the middle of other orphans and Ex Orphans. The orphans walked back to the bush.

Naseku and Roi browsed together, while others were busy struggling for greener pasture. Later on, Enkikwe led the group to mudbath. It was very hot and most orphans enjoyed the mud bath. Kama and Wiva played there too. When he wild bulls arrived however, our orphans left the mud bath just like yesterday. Kama started breastfeeding from her mum Kinna. Wiva was scratching on the bent tree while the orphans walked back in the bush.
It was very hot in the bush and some of the orphans hid in the shade, whilst everyone else struggled to fill up their stomachs. Sokotei and Lemoyian led the group back home in the evening.

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

 Abdul on Turkwel's rescue. At the airstrip our team go through the medicine
Abdul on Turkwel's rescue.
photo taken on 8/4/2009
At the airstrip our team go through the medicine
photo taken on 8/4/2009


The rescue of a baby elephant on the 4rd August 2009 was one of the more dramatic that has ever been undertaken. The 4 month old calf must surely rank as both the luckiest and unluckiest of elephant babies – lucky to have been found intact in the very remote and hostile region around South Turkana Reserve and unluckiest to have been born into a an area inhabited by wild and warring pastoral people of the Pokot and Turkana tribes who are constantly in conflict over the sparse resources centered around land and livestock, and have been so since time immemorial. Theirs is a forgotten Wild West frontier in Kenya where wildlife lives in a perpetual war zone, made that much worse by the fact that in this remote area almost every male tribesman now carries not a spear, or bows and arrows, but an AK47 machine gun, and uses it with impunity.

Abdul on Turkwel's rescue.  The Turkwel dam

Turkwel airstrip  Views from the airstrip.

The Trust received the rescue alert from the Kenya Wildlife Service during the evening of the 3rd August, too late to initiate a rescue that day. The rescue team therefore left at 7am the following morning (4th August) and after a 2 hour plane journey landed at the Turkwel Airstrip, near the Nasalot and South Turkana National Reserves, at 9:30am where they had to await the arrival of the calf. Gunshots were heard going off in the distance while the team waited, so this delay on the ground was nerve wracking to say the least.

Turkwel in the back of the landcruiser that rescued her  At the airstrip our team go through the medicine

The calf arrives at the airstrip after a long wait.jpg  The calf's arrival

Some of the heros involved in saving Turkwel

Even more nerve wracking was the rescue of the calf. The Deputy Warden of the Nasalot and South Turkana National Reserves Mr. Nduati James organized a very high risk and brave rescue of the little elephant, who had been spotted alone near the Wei Wei River and was heading into an extremely high conflict zone. A protected team of Rangers, escorted by armed paramilitary personnel of both the General Service Units and Police set off to retrieve the calf as it approached the Juluk area where they risked attack by armed bandits who had blocked all roads leading into the area. It took the team all morning to clear the roads of obstructions in order to get a vehicle to the calf.

Unfortunately wildlife is caught in the middle of a very serious and ongoing tribal conflict for in order to access water and feeding grounds the animals have to cross the Kerio valley corridor to enter Nasalot Game Reserve from Romoi Game Reserve, where they are caught in the crossfire of the warring Pokot and Turkana people.

Feeding Turkwel  The calf at the airstrip.jpg

Elephants especially are a prime target – their tusks used as barter for guns, sold to unscrupulous middlemen of the infamous Ivory trade, their meat used to feed the rebels and others living in this impoverished region, where life on the edge is exacerbated by severe drought. It is, in fact, a miracle that any elephant still manage to exist in this conflict zone.

The calf at the airstrip.jpg  The calf is laid on the matress and canvas stretching in preperation for the journey to Nairobi.jpg

Loading the calf into the plane.

The calf is prepared for the long flight to Nairobi.jpg

We named our latest little living miracle Turkwel. She is the third elephant orphan we have from the area. “Nasalot” of Yatta’s Ithumba unit being one and Ajok who came to us in 1990 the other. She is a very gently and loving little elephant who has been embraced by all at the Trust, both her little elephant peers as well as the humans.

The Trust pickup collects the calf at  Wilson Airport  Nairobi

Turkwell with Edwin on arrival at the nursery.  She was named Turkwel after the Turkwel river

Turkwel settled in the Nairobi nursery


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