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

Name Gender Date Born Location Found Age on Arrival Comments Reason for being Orphaned
 NELION  Male  Tuesday, July 26, 2011 Mt. Kenya National Park  About 2 years old  Found on his own with no other elephants in sight  Reason Unknown 

Latest Updates on NELION:

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

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

6/20/2018 - The morning was good with the orphan elephants downing their milk bottle after which they settled to feed on Lucerne grass pellets and copra cake. Ndoria was a little bully today and kept preventing Nguvu from getting to the feeding trough. Nelion was quick to come to Nguvuís aid allowing each orphan to get their share of supplements and making sure that no other fights broke out.

The orphans headed to the eastern side of Msinga Hill, moving uphill to browse with Tundani and Suswa remaining at the bottom of the Hill. The orphans came down at noon for their milk bottle which they took under a tree close to the baobab water hole. There were more than four wild elephant families that had come to the baobab water hole for a drink of water and the trough had to be replenished before the orphanís arrival. Mbeguís herd came first for the afternoon milk feeding with Ndotto coming in and demanding to be given Mudandaís share. Mudanda was not happy about this and pushed Ndotto onto Ngilai. The keepers had to intervene to prevent a fight breaking out.

Nelion was among the first to arrive at the water hole and came running out of the water to welcome an approaching wild herd, who were quite taken aback by Nelionís enthusiasm and nearly ran away. There was a big wild bull in the wild herd that was bent on preventing a second wild herd and their two calves from coming for a drink. Ndotto went up to the bull and somehow managed to get him to allow the second group to join the first for a drink. Ishaq-B and Tahri tried to get close to the wild calves but were prevented from doing so by their elder sisters. The wild herds enjoyed drinking the clean water from the trough, with one calf attempting to jump into the trough to take a bath. Panda enjoyed spending some time all the wild herds that visited today.

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

 Nelion out in the bush Nelion with Barsilinga and Teleki
Nelion out in the bush
photo taken on 8/13/2013
Nelion with Barsilinga and Teleki
photo taken on 8/13/2013


A lone elephant calf was first spotted by the Kenya Wildlife Service within the Mount Kenya National Park during one of their daily patrols on Friday 2nd August. The calf was reported that day to KWS Field Veterinary Officer Dr Mutinda as well as to the DSWT Nairobi HQ. The KWS rangers lost sight of the calf during the day so any chance of a rescue was postponed.

Over the following days the KWS continued to search the area where the calf was last seen without luck until on the morning of the Wednesday 7th August when the young elephant was finally located. The KWS made plans to immediately capture the calf before it had the chance to disappear again. Due to the fairly large size of the elephant and its small tusks the KWS Warden and vet made the decision to dart the calf in order to capture it and transport it to the nearest airstrip at Nanyuki to await the DSWT.

The captured calf

The calf in the back of the vehicle  The calf's legs are strapped for the flight

Preparing the calf for the flight  Preparing to put the calf on the plane

During this time the Warden informed the DSWT team in Nairobi at around 4pm that an aircraft and rescue team needed to be sent to Nanyuki urgently to collect and care for the calf. As daylight was fading the Nairobi elephant keepers rushed to the domestic airstrip and were airborne by 5pm. After a 40minute flight up to the Mount Kenya region the rescue team arrived and quickly prepared the calf, who was waiting with the KWS at the airstrip, for his return flight to Nairobi.

On the way back to Nairobi  The calf is placed on a drip

The DSWT team and the new orphan were en-route to Nairobi by 6pm, landing just in time at sunset. A DSWT vehicle was awaiting their arrival in order to transfer the calf to the Nursery. Dodging Nairobi commuter traffic and short-cutting through Nairobi National Park, the tired and stressed calf arrived at the Nursery just after 8pm.

The calf in the stockade after arrival at the nursery  The calf charging

Nelion  Climbing the stockade

On closer inspection the keepers confirmed that this malnourished and dehydrated little elephant had indeed been on his own for quite some days, unable to get the nourishment he needs to survive from vegetation alone, he is gaunt and thin. At approximately 2 years old he is still very aggressive to the keepers despite his weakness, chasing them around the stockade where he has been placed next to the Nurseryís newest arrival, Vuria.

The orphans greeting Nelion  Nelion and Lima Lima having milk

Nelion having a bottle of milk  Laragai greets Nelion

Sonje greets Nelion  Inside the training stockade

Thankfully the following morning this beautiful mountain elephant, covered in long black hairs typical of highland elephant herds, took milk from the keepers surrounded by the encouragement of the rest of the orphan family. All at the DSWT hope this new arrival continues to feed well and regain strength in order to get him through the trauma he experienced.

Nelion with Quanza  Nelion with Naipoki

Nelion and Barsilinga browsing together  Nelion with Barsilinga and Teleki

Nelion reaching for the camera  Nelion out in the bush

Nelion browsing in the bushes


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