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

Name Gender Date Born Location Found Age on Arrival Comments Reason for being Orphaned
 SHUKURU  Female  September 2009 Tsavo West on the Mzima Springs Pipeline  3 days old  Rescued by a herdsman after falling down a manhole on the Mzima – Mombasa Pipeline  Man Made Cause for Separation 

Latest Updates on SHUKURU:

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

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

2/24/2018 - Tamiyoi, Godoma, Murit and Mbegu have long been observed for having the habit of running into Shukuru and Luggard’s rooms and to Maxwell’s gate to look for the delicious lucerne pellets they are given. Today this group met outside Maxwell’s gate to collect up all the lucerne pellets they could there. Mbegu was very self centered and selfish this morning though, blocking Tamiyoi and Murit especially from having any. These two just stood close by, waiting for their opportunity and for Mbegu to leave so they could have some too. They were unlucky today though as the rest of the orphans were already quite far in the forest and the keepers called them to follow the others. Meanwhile Musiara was very restless because he couldn’t find his adopted mother Mbegu. He turned to walk back towards the stockades to look for her and met her late group walking out. They both rumbled at each other as they exchanged trunks in greeting. Mbegu was happy to see him and Musiara suckled on her ears.

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

 Abdi gives the orphan the anti-biotic jab.jpg Aden with the tiny calf at the Manyani airstrip
Abdi gives the orphan the anti-biotic jab.jpg
photo taken on 9/3/2009
Aden with the tiny calf at the Manyani airstrip
photo taken on 9/3/2009


We named this tiny 3 day old female orphan “Nashukuru”, which, in Swahili, means “I am grateful”. Indeed this baby deserves to be grateful to have been spared by a simple but brave herdsman who protected her from the henchmen who were bent on slaughtering and consuming her as bushmeat once she had been extracted from a manhole on the Mzima – Mombasa Pipeline into which she had inadvertently fallen.

Shukuru with the men who rescued her

These manholes on the ageing Mzima-Mombasa pipeline have been responsible for orphaning many of our orphans. They should not, of course, be open, but the steel covers are either stolen or cast aside so that tribesmen along the route can access the water for themselves and their cattle. They seldom bother to replace the cover, because anything that falls in brings a free bushmeat meal.

The orphan in the village with the rescue team  The keepers check the orphans age and condition

On the 3rd September a more compassionate and caring herdsman heard the cries of the baby whilst herding his cattle along the Pipeline, and upon investigation could see the tip of a tiny trunk waving around just above the water-line. With the help of some other people within calling distance, he managed extract the baby elephant from the open manhole, following which a heated argument ensued, all but him determined to kill the calf and eat it. The herdsman would have none of it, and protected the calf taking it to his home, where his family was detailed to look after it whilst he walked to the Manyani Entrance Gate to Tsavo East National Park in order to report the matter. Too young to know fear, being literally only a few days old, if that, the tiny calf trustingly followed anyone and anything, even the Herdsman’s dogs!

Battered and bruised from the ordeal  Justus with the tiny newborn calf

Aden with the tiny calf at the Manyani airstrip

The Rangers on duty at the Manyani Gate radioed Park Headquarters in Voi, who in turn alerted our Voi Elephant Keepers to mobilize a rescue. Joseph Sauni, the Head Keeper at the Voi Elephant Rehabilitation Unit, immediately set forth, and having collected the Herdsman who had been waiting at Manyani Gate, was directed to his house to collect the newborn baby. He then alerted us in Nairobi that a plane was needed to fly her back to the Nursery.

The keepers give the orphan rehydrate fliud and milk on the airstrip  Shukuru on the airstrip

Shukuru follows the keepers to the rescue plane  Abdi gives the orphan the anti-biotic jab.jpg

The keepers carrying the orphan to the rescue plane  The orphan is loaded into the rescue plane

Shukuru on the rescue plane

She arrived in the Nursery as it was getting dark in the evening of the 3rd September – a beautiful little baby, trusting and affectionate, who was still in good shape, but for a few surface abrasions as a result of her ordeal. Having been given a prophylactic injection of Nuroclav antibiotic, and had her wounds attended to, she immediately took a bottle of milk, and settled down huddled next to a Keeper.

The tiny orphan in the back of the pickup  Shukuru with edwin upon arrival

Shukuru with Hassan

Her rescue by a compassionate and brave ele-friendly Herdsman in an area where bushmeat is Big Business, is indeed heartwarming and engenders hope that if only today’s elephants can weather the current hazards of global warming induced drought conditions, increased Chinese driven poaching and the expanding human population putting additional pressure on the land, hopefully (and with a little help from CITES regarding the Ivory issue), perhaps in the future those that are left will enjoy a more peaceful and pleasurable life amongst Kenyans who are more concerned about their wildlife which is the country’s greatest natural asset and the bastion of the tourist industry.

Shukuru with her friends at the nursery  Shukuru having her night blanket put on

Shukuru (front) & Pesi playing with the blanket


Please see the resources above for more information on SHUKURU

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