The following is information on the Elephant Orphan named: RUKINGA 

Name Gender Date Born Location Found Age on Arrival Comments Reason for being Orphaned
 RUKINGA  Male  Tuesday, September 4, 2012 Seen alone near a waterhole on Mgeno Ranch  Approximately 3 weeks old  He was seen on his own by an anti-poaching team while on patrol on Mgeno Ranch  Reason Unknown 

Latest Updates on RUKINGA:

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

9/19/2018 - This morning, just as the orphans were being let out, Orwa, Narok, Bomani and Kainuk, arrived at the stockades with fifteen wild bulls. Kainuk walked into the stockades to check on her longtime friend Turkwel, who has been undergoing treatment for the past seven weeks. It seemed the two had a brief conversation where we assumed Turkwel assured Kainuk that she was in good hands and was receiving the best treatment. Turkwel has lost her tail but her wounds are almost healed now. Karisa, Maramoja and Rapa left the stockades with branches in their mouths and enjoyed feeding on them whilst waiting for their lucerne pellets. Kainuk, also not wanting to be left out, grabbed a branch and walked out enjoying its delicacy. Whilst the orphans took their time patiently feeding on the lucerne, picking one pellet at a time, Ukame, whose name means “drought”, and was rescued during a prolonged drought in the Rukinga Ranch area, was living up to her name. She was behaving like a drought victim, scooping up the pellets and stuffing her mouth, always wanting more. A wild bull watched the orphans from a distance, as they fed on the pellets, wondering what the elephants were doing. His curiosity piqued, and he approached the orphans in a slow measured walk. He picked up one pellet and after tasting it, decided it wasn’t worth the effort of feeding on one pellet at a time. A bull his size requires such a large amount of sustenance and the pellets were just not enough. Karisa was in quite an excitable mood, kicking up dust and charging at invisible foes and after some time, he decided the best way to end his charging session is by mock attacking Tusuja.
At the mud-bath, a big group of twenty bulls joined the orphans to cool off in the mud. The orphans decided to give the bulls a wide berth by moving over to the smaller mud-bath. Back at the browsing field, Enkikwe came across a shrub that he liked but was unable to pull it using his trunk, so instead he bent down and used his mouth to pull it out. In the evening, on the way back to the stockades Kauro, Namalok and Kamok decided to play a little game of hide and seek, they dodged the Keepers for almost half an hour before they were finally found and taken back to the stockade.

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

 Murera mothering Rukinga Rukinga drinking his milk
Murera mothering Rukinga
photo taken on 10/4/2012
Rukinga drinking his milk
photo taken on 10/4/2012


This tiny orphan was found by the Rukinga team rangers attached to a patrol base on Mgeno Ranch in the Voi area on the 27th of September 2012. He was first seen alone near a cattle waterhole called Panda II. There was no evidence of any wild elephants remaining in the area, and he had obviously been alone for some time as his ears were becoming tender and sun burnt. The scouts monitored him for a further three hours to be sure that his herd or mother was not going to return. In this time it was evident the calf was desperate for company, joining a herd of cattle that had come in to water. He was only a few weeks old, with the dried remnants of his umbilical cord still showing on his underside, and given the increase of poaching in this area it is possible his mother was poached as elephants rarely leave their young.

The team who found him was a joint patrol between Kenya Wildlife Service and Wildlife Works, an umbrella organization involved in supporting the management of 14 ranches in the area through the sale of carbon credits from the land.
Rukinga was brought to the local patrol base and there, bewildered, he was tethered to a tree. A film crew studying the effects of poaching in the area joined him, and kept him company until the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Team from the Voi Rehabilitation Unit was called to collect him in their vehicle.

The Voi Keepers with the orphan on the airstrip  THe young orphan feeding on milk on the airstrip

Preparing the orphan for the flight to Nairobi  Loading the orphan in the rescue plane

Sammy in the plane with the orphan

Meanwhile the Nairobi rescue team was deployed and flew to meet the Voi Keepers on the ground in order to collect the calf and bring him to the Nursery Unit, joining the other young orphans at the rehabilitation centre in Nairobi. He is very young, we think approximately three weeks, but is a huge calf, almost the size of Barsilinga and he totally dwarfs little Kinango. His arrival was initially met with a luke warm reception from the older Nursery orphans who tended to shun him for little Kinango. He did not seem overly distressed by this though having battened onto the Keepers by this stage. However over time Sonje and Murera have taken him under their wings and he is now basking in their love. Murera is the oldest orphan in the Nursery and now that she has healed it has been amazing to watch her change, from being reclusive during her wounded months, preferring the company of her Keepers and Orwa only, later Sonje too, and now she is a boisterous member of the Nursery herd, and even with the capacity to show maternal instinct towards the new little calf who has settled in well and seems totally content with his new elephant family.

Rukinga follows the Keepers closely  Rukinga drinking his milk

Murera mothering Rukinga


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