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)

4/28/2018 - The morning was perfect with the sun rising early. The stockade dependant orphans concentrated on their usual supplement feeding activities before engaging in some games around the stockade. Suswa and Rorogoi enjoyed lying on the soft red earth piles but had to abandon their game to run away from Nelion who was intent on riding on their backs. Nelion followed them closely continually trying to engage them in a game but the two wanted nothing to do with him and would not risk lying down as they knew that if they did Nelion would take the opportunity to climb on their backs.

Kihari saw the games were taking longer than normal and blew a trumpet to notify the rest of the orphan herd that it was time for them to make their way to the browsing grounds. The morning browsing session went well and continued peacefully until it was time for the noon milk feed and mud bath.

In the afternoon Kenia investigated the contents of a hole in a tree to see if she could find anything in it. Upon finding nothing, not even a drop of water, she continued with her browsing activities.

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 Nursery’s 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


Please see the resources above for more information on NELION

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