The following is information on the Elephant Orphan named: AJABU 

Name Gender Date Born Location Found Age on Arrival Comments Reason for being Orphaned
 AJABU  Female  Wednesday, April 3, 2013 Msinga Hill - Tsavo East National Park  Estimated to be as young as just a day old  Found 3 kilometers from Masinga Hill following tour vans, fate of mother and herd unknown  Reason Unknown 

Latest Updates on AJABU:

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

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

8/21/2013 - Precious baby Ajabu woke up in a pathetic state this morning, dull and refusing her milk. She was immediately put on life support, which continued throughout the day, but died at 8 p.m. surrounded by a grief-stricken human family who loved her unconditionally, as did all the other Nursery elephants. Yet, there was no time to mourn at length, for yet another needy orphan, rescued from the Sobo Area of Tsavo East National Park, who was also said to be in a critical condition, was already on its way to the Nursery, having been rescued by the Voi Elephant Keepers. This orphan, a yearling female, came in with a large swelling under the belly (believed by the Vet, who was summonsed to take a look, to be as a result of malnutrition). The new baby, believed to be another poaching victim, was named “Mashariki” the Swahili word for “East” since she was rescued from Tsavo East.

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

 Ajabu  Little Ajabu
photo taken on 4/10/2013
Little Ajabu
photo taken on 4/10/2013


Early on Thursday 4th April a tiny female elephant calf was spotted by tour operators in Tsavo East National Park about three kilometres from Msinga Hill and the Trust’s Voi stockades. The baby was desperate for company and had taken to following the tour vans that were watching her. No wild elephants could be seen in the vicinity and the calf was very close to a large water pan notorious for lions which come to ambush the animals drinking there. Having watched the desperate scene for some time one of the tour operators reported the baby to the Kenya Wildlife Service who then contacted the Trust’s keepers at Voi stockades.

The keepers arrive at Wilson for the flight  

  The airstrip

The Voi keepers hurried to rescue the baby and succeeded in capturing her at about 9.10am, fortunately before she could come to any harm. The Trust’s vet unit was also put on standby but their assistance was not required as the baby was so small and easy to handle. The little female calf was so newborn that the umbilical cord was still fresh, but the soles of her feet showed she had walked a long way looking for help. She is absolutely perfect, but clearly sunburnt, and shouting loudly for her mother at every opportunity. The Voi keepers gave her some milk, which she took with eagerness being very thirsty. The temperatures were unforgiving, hovering around 42 degrees centigrade, despite the recent rain that has turned Tsavo into a blanket of green, so it was imperative for her survival that she did not become badly dehydrated.

The rescue vehicle awaits the team from Nairobi  The calf is offloaded from the vehicle at the airstrip

The calf under the plane with the keepers  The keepers greet and reassure the calf

Preparing the calf for the flight  Securing the claf's legs for the flight

The calf is loaded into the plane  The calf is strapped in for the flight

Watching over the calf during the flight

At 12.30pm a plane was dispatched from Nairobi to bring the baby back to the Nursery where she can receive the expert attention so important to her wellbeing. The flight took little over an hour across a landscape recently turned emerald green by the new shoots and leaves emerging as a result of recent rains. Even in Tsavo all the water holes are full and the rivers flowing torrents of brown turbulent water, a relief after the dry preceding months. Once the plane landed at Voi airstrip the Nairobi keepers quickly bundled the baby on board and gently strapped her down to avoid injury on the flight back to Nairobi. The plane was airborne again just after 2pm for the return leg with the baby protesting loudly and crying for her mother. At a little after 3.30pm everyone finally arrived safely back at the Nairobi orphanage and the baby was taken to the quite comfort of a stable which she proceeded to explore with her tiny trunk. She was persuaded to take some more milk but then decided that she also needed to explore the rest of her surroundings. Closely followed by her keepers she wobbled out and started to explore her new home, giving Geri the orphaned Thompson’s gazelle rather a start as she had come to see what was going on, and all the while shouting loudly no doubt trying to locate her mother. This continued through much of the night upsetting the other Nursery residents who were clearly concerned.

Offloading the calf from the plane after arriving at Wilson  In the back of the pick up on the way to the nursery

The calf arrives at the nursery

The calf is placed in the stockade and straps undone  The calf in the stockade soon after arrival

The calf having some milk  Sucking a keepers fingers

The calf with Mishack  The tiny calf

The baby has been named Ajabu, a Swahili word meaning mystery, to reflect the unanswered questions surrounding her first precious days and what happened to her mother and her herd.

Angela Sheldrick with the new calf  Curious Geri

Sweet Ajabu  Ajabu

Little Ajabu

Here is a short film to show how Ajabu is getting on at the Nairobi Nursery.

Please see the resources above for more information on AJABU

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