The following is information on the Elephant Orphan named: ASANJE 

Name Gender Date Born Location Found Age on Arrival Comments Reason for being Orphaned
 ASANJE  Female  Saturday, April 7, 2012 Cotters 1920's Camp in the Masai Mara   18 months old  First reported by the Masai community near the Masai Mara Game Reserve. She later arrived remained near the waterhole at Cotters 1920’s Camp in the Masai Mara.  Reason Unknown 

Latest Updates on ASANJE:

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

1/30/2014 - Poor Asanje passed away at 1 a.m. this morning, so a somber mood greeted the day today in the nursery, since she was deeply loved by her human family, who had tried their utmost to bring her back to health following the mysterious fit she suffered out in the bush, which preempted many months of health issues. An autopsy was carried out on her body, but the Vet was unable to establish the exact nature of her illness.

The Nursery received another baby elephant this morning, again a well victim from the Sera Conservancy rescued yesterday evening too late for the rescue plane to fetch it that day. The baby, who is a big baby bull calf, but with a fresh umbilicus, has injuries to his trunk, the tip of which has been bitten off by small predators. He was still strong, but very tired, and because his umbilicus looked fresh and was still attached, he was given an infusion of elephant plasma to ensure that he has antibodies to cope with life, in case he had not been able to suckle his elephant mother before becoming trapped in the well. He has been named “Kauro”, the name of a place near the well into which he had fallen.

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

 Asanje watched over by a keeper Offloading the calf into the plane
Asanje watched over by a keeper
photo taken on 10/15/2014
Offloading the calf into the plane
photo taken on 1/8/2014


Reports of an orphaned baby were first received five days previously from the Masai community near the Masai Mara Game Reserve after she had been driven away by dogs. She later arrived on the lawns of Cotters 1920’s Camp in the Masai Mara, and watered at their waterhole staying close for protection.

We received a phone call from Calvin Cottar regarding this rescue on the 8th of October but due to the late hour and the fading light it was too late to arrange. The following morning on the 9th of October we received a call from the Camp manager informing us that the calf was still there, and in desperate need of rescuing because her condition was visibly deteriorating. With a den of hyenas living closeby with each passing day and night her chances of survival were lessened. There were no herds of elephants in the area, and Cotters 1920’s is situated very close to the Tanzanian border. The fate of her mother remained unknown, but she was a suspected poaching victim, probably from Tanzania.

Capturing the calf  The calf is captured

Preparing the long acting antibiotic injection  The calf is placed on the tarpauline

The pilot helps to restrain the calf

Our rescue team landed at the airstrip close to the camp and was transported to where the elephant was by the lodge staff. The capture was dramatic as they had to restrain her with their usual technique of a blanket thrown over the head and then restraining her behind the ears and neck. They tranquilized her at this point to reduce the stress levels, but it became evident she was too large to fit in the lodge vehicle to be transported to the airfield. There were many people present assisting in the rescue of this 18 month old baby and the lodge staff provided enormous support and assistance, providing a tractor and trailer to transport the calf back to the waiting plane so that she could be loaded, strapped and secured and placed on a drip for the duration of the flight.

The restrained calf with its rescuers  Carrying the calf to the tractor

Placing the calf in the back of the tractor  Loading the calf into the back of the tractor

On the way to the airstrip  The calf arrives at the airstip

Asanje arrives at the airstip

By the time the team arrived at the Nursery it was about 8.00pm. She was immediately off loaded and placed in a stockade next to Zongoloni and Bomani – with the steady stream of orphans arriving we have had to make significant sleeping arrangement adjustments to accommodate them all. Many orphans are doubled up and sharing stockades now. We have called her Asanje which means sweetheart in Maa the language spoken by the Masai people. She is a lovely elephant, and has clearly been through a lonely and frightening time before being rescued.

Preparing to load the calf into the plane  Offloading the calf into the plane

The calf is placed on a drip  On the way to the nursery

Asanje the day after arrival  Asanje feeling apprehensive

Asanje gets some attention from a keeper

Asanje in the stockade a day after arrival  Asanje greets a keeper

However, the drama concerning Asanje was not over. As the weeks passed she grew stronger and joined the orphans out in the bush becoming comfortable with the routine and making new and special friends with many of the elephants in the Nursery. But just when we thought all was well, early one morning while out in the forest with the others Asanje suddenly swelled around her neck and chin, grew weaker and weaker, circling around in one direction and seemingly lost her sight. It took many men to guide her back to the safety of the stockades. Edwin immediately reported Asanje’s deteriorating condition to Angela who ensured that she was given cortisone intravenously to save her life. Clearly she had suffered a monumental anaphylactic reaction to something, something that remains to this day a mystery but we suspect it could have been a cobra snake bite. She was placed on a drip to restore her strength and as the day passed grew stronger, the swelling subsided and she began to feed once again.

Asanje watched over by a keeper  Asanje browsing

Asanje out in the bush  Asanje in the bush

Asanje out with the others  Sweet Asanje in the stockade

Asanje in the stockade

She remained without sight for three weeks but in that time remarkably still found her way around, and the casual observer would have never known that she was blind. This was just one of many complications that we were confronted with in the wake of Asanje’s dramatic ordeal, as she continued to swell from time to time between her legs and chin, and her skin cracked and peeled. Her condition worsened and we literally lurched from day to day not sure she was going to have the strength to pull through despite everyone’s best efforts. Slowly and miraculously she began to regain her sight over time.

Asanje feeling poorly  Asanje relaxing in her stockade

Throughout this time it has been Asanje’s preference to remain alone with her beloved Keepers only joining the other elephant orphans at feed times. We see this often with orphans that are ailing, as if they instinctively know that the rambunctious behavior of the others is more than they can physically cope with during this delicate time. She loves her stockades, and returns for periods of time throughout the day to feed on cut greens and additional treats like Lucerne and diary cubes and her movements are all subject to her own rhythm.
Unbelievably she seems to be improving so much so that we feel she is ready to be placed on the fostering program two month after the incident. We are hopeful that with all the tender loving care she is receiving from her new two and four legged family she will make a full recovery in the fullness of time, and thanks to the speedy reactions of all concerned her life was saved that fateful morning, and we hope we are through the worst as far as additional complications post that dramatic morning. She is a very courageous and lovely elephant, whose need for intensive care has only brought that special bond with her keepers even closer.    

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