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

Name Gender Date Born Location Found Age on Arrival Comments Reason for being Orphaned
 QUANZA  Female  Wednesday, October 12, 2011 Lemomo area near Amboseli National Park  One year old  Her mother and two sisters were killed by poachers  Poaching 

Latest Updates on QUANZA:

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

1/31/2019 - The Orphans made their way to the Chyulu Hills to browse, with young boys Alamaya and Mwashoti in the lead. They came across some of their wild elephant friends who were returning from the forest. After exchanging greetings, Quanza walked away, leaving the herd with Sonje, who went to greet their new friends. Murera later arrived with Mwashoti and avoided the wild herd as she was worried that they could get hurt by their wild friends who very energetic in their playful pushing games.

As it was a very hot day, the orphans downed their noon milk bottle in the shade then immediately made their way to the waterhole for a cooling mud-bath. Shukuru was the first one to enter the water and was swiftly joined by the rest of the orphan herd. Once they were all in Shukuru exited the water and made her way to the dust bath where she managed to enjoy a few minutes of solitary dust bathing, before the rest once again joined her.

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

 The orphan herd Quanza
The orphan herd
photo taken on 11/14/2012
photo taken on 11/13/2012


In the general area known as Lemomo near the International Border between Tanzania and Kenya, three of Amboseli’s famous female elephants from the Q Family (Qumquat, her daughter Quantina 13 years old, and another daughter Quaye just 10 years old) were gunned down by Tanzanian gun-toting Poachers on the 28th October 2012. Tanzania is currently one of the main hotspots for poaching in Africa where there is evidence of collusion between armed Tanzanian poachers and tribesmen in neighbouring Kenya who pass on information about the movement of the famous Amboseli elephant herds.

Traditionally Amboseli elephants migrate into the Kilimanjaro forests within Tanzania and have done so since time immemorial. This is an ancient migratory route firmly implanted within their mysterious genetic memory. The Amboseli population is the only elephant population in Africa where some Elephant families remain naturally intact, led by old, wise Matriarchs, such as Qumquat, many of whom carry sizeable tusks as do some of the old Bulls, such as “Ezra” (who was also senselessly killed, not by Poachers, but by disgruntled Masai tribesmen demanding more of the tourist revenue from the Park.) The famous Matriarch known as Qumquat was born in l968, and was one of Amboseli’s famously identifiable icons. Having been studied for years by the Amboseli Trust for Elephants, she and her family, just 24 hours previously, were photographed together by Big Life’s Nick Brandt, and they were calm and trusting of their human admirers. Quantina’s young first born calf of just six months old remains missing to this day, but fortunately Quanza, Qumquat’s latest calf was spared.

Qumquat  Qantina, one of Quanza's older sisters who was killed

Another of Quanza's sisters Quaye  Qumquat dead

Qantina dead  Quaye dead

Qumquat was the leader of the researchers’ Q Elephant family, who carried distinctive beautiful long, thin tusks, and who matured to become the leader of her family, keeping them safe for over 4 decades. Her baby, Quanza, born on the 12th October 2011 was the first to be born following the devastating drought of 2009, which took such a heavy toll on many other species as well. Her baby was given the name “Quanza”– the Swahili word for “first”.

Qumquat with her baby Quanza  Qumquat with her baby Quanza

Previously matriarch Qumquat had been successfully treated for gunshot wounds in March 2009 by Dr. David Ndeereh, then the KWS Veterinarian seconded to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit.

March 2009- Qumquat is treated for bullet wounds by our Tsavo Vet Unit

§ She survived that poaching incident and lived on as an international icon with a magnificent and awe-inspiring presence, a lovely gentle nature and wonderful leadership qualities. Dr. Cynthia Moss and her team of researchers have monitored the Amboseli elephant population over the past 40 years, meticulously recording all elephant “hatches, matches and dispatches”, following elephant lives thereafter so the Amboseli elephants have been the subject of numerous documentaries and films, which have brought world-wide acclaim to Kenya, not to mention the tourist revenue aspect. Their lives are followed by literally millions of caring people world-wide. The death of each and every one of their number is an appalling indictment on the evil Ivory Trade and the avaricious greed of humankind.

The brutal killing of the beautiful Matriarch Qumquat is a very real loss to the world as a whole and the images of her mutilated face hacked in half by axes to dislodge her beautiful slender tusks, out of which to make a trinket, are particularly shocking.

The world needs to ponder the fact that it takes two years to make an elephant and only 9 months to make a man!

The appetite for ivory in Far Eastern Nations, and especially China, drives the current poaching epidemic and is decimating Africa’s priceless Elephant herds. Once only the prerogative of the rich, today ivory is affordable to China’s wealthier masses who also now regard it as a status symbol, and because of this less than 400,000 elephants remain alive in Africa today. These numbers are falling rapidly. The Forest Elephants of Central Africa are nearing total annihilation, and many former Elephant Range States have been left with none at all! What will the International Convention for Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) do to stop this madness when the Parties meet again in Thailand next year? Will they vote to ban all ivory and save the Elephants, or will they again vote for the greed for money driven by trade which has fuelled the current slaughter.

Qumquat’s baby, Quanza, was still standing beside her dead mother when this horrific poaching incident was investigated. She was located and captured during the afternoon of the 30th October 2012 and flown back to the Nairobi Nursery that evening, arriving after dark, still in good health, but understandably very traumatized and “wild”, understanding full well who murdered her elephant mother and other family members. She probably even witnessed her mother’s face hacked in half and her beautiful long thin tusks being carried off by the thugs who shot her loved ones.

The Keepers arrive at the scene  Everyone helps to capture the orphan

Preparing the orphan for the journey to Nairobi orphanage  The Keepers lay the orphan on the travel tarp

The orphan is tied down for the journey to the orphanage  Off loading Quanza once she arrives at the Nursery

Quanza is initially agressive

It took a few days for her to understand that not all humans are evil, and in this she has been helped by the other 25 Nursery elephant orphans who have been through the same loss, not least little “albino” Amboseli baby, “Faraja” who will impart to her the knowledge that she is fortunate to be amongst those few who have been rescued and who have found an alternative family and given a second chance of life. No elephant orphaned under the age of 3 years can live without access to milk unless conditions are extremely favorable.

Amos trying to tame Quanza  Quanza in the stockade

Quanza at the Nursery  Quanza with the herd

Some of those involved in the killing of Qumquat and her family have been arrested with the help of the community of Big Life, and unbelievably the culprit had been arrested a year before and released. When will the sentencing fit the crime, and in this case the loss of such an irreplaceable icon. Deterrent sentencing can go a long way to helping the situation and we sincerely hope this man will be made an example of what happens to those that rob this country of such a priceless asset - Qumquat and her daughters.

We take small comfort in the fact that her genes live on through Quanza and thank all those involved in her safe rescue.

Quanza  Quanza playing in the bush with the orphans

Quanza playing in the bush with the orphans  The orphan herd


Please see the resources above for more information on QUANZA

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