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

Name Gender Date Born Location Found Age on Arrival Comments Reason for being Orphaned
 ZIWA  Male  Sunday, February 12, 2012 Amboseli Environs  2 Years old  Found protecting his dying mother who had collapsed in a water hole too weak to stand  Sick Mother 

Latest Updates on ZIWA:

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

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

10/31/2018 - Sonje was being so funny in the morning as she showed off her yoga-playing styles in the dust bath area of the stockades. She was having so much fun that the others all joined her. First Mwashoti and then all other boys came over but she turned them away to accommodate Alamaya and Lima Lima with Zongoloni on top of the pile. Shukuru was also playing in the dust but when Ngasha turned his bottom against her as if to slide on her, Shukuru had to leave because she did not allow the big boys like Ngasha and Jasiri to climb on her back because they are heavy boys.

Mwashoti had to rumble to call the big girls to help him as Ziwa was following him in the bushes and touching his tail. Mwashoti was not happy about this this and he rumbled very loudly for Murera to come and help. Murera came but so did all the other females including Sonje, Zongoloni and Quanza. They all came to see why Mwashoti was rumbling for help. When they found Ziwa close to him they knew why he was calling for help and they pushed Ziwa away. Sonje and Murera left Lima Lima and Zongoloni in charge and walked with Mwashoti slowly back to the herd who were waiting by the water springs.

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

 Entering the mudwallow At mudbath
Entering the mudwallow
photo taken on 1/21/2014
At mudbath
photo taken on 1/21/2014


On the 8th January 2014 The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust rescued two orphaned elephants. The first was Losesia, a six month old female who had fallen down a man made well in Sera Conservancy, Northern Kenya, but very sadly died soon after her arrival her at the Nursery having ingested well water into her lungs. The second calf was a two year old bull rescued from Amboseli National Park, his mother was known to the researchers of Amboseli as Zombe. Zombe was treated in December by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust funded Sky Vet program, a program that we run in conjunction with KWS, after we received reports of a sick female with a young dependent calf. It remained a mystery as to what her problem actually was, with no obvious injuries to treat, long acting antibiotics were administered. Throughout this time she did not travel far, and her young calf remained by her side, with the rest of the herd moving further a field.

Three weeks later we received a phone call from KWS that she had been found collapsed in a water hole too weak to stand, with stories of her young calf gallantly protecting her from the curious and hungry hyenas. Both were at risk of a gruesome end. We immediately prepared for the Sky Vet once again, this time headed by KWS veterinary officer Isaac Lekelol and our elephant Keepers accompanying him. The team headed to Amboseli, fully expecting that this may well have a tragic end, and that the calf may need rescuing before nightfall, as clearly with the hyenas aware of his presence and plight the chances were high that he would not be found in one piece the following day.

Arriving at Wilson to head out for the rescue  Heading out to find the orphan

The rescue plane on the airstrip waiting for the calf

A KWS team met them at the airstrip and drove them to the water hole where Zombe lay completely devoid of any strength. The scene that the team was confronted with was so extremely sad. Zombe lay semi submerged in the mud of a waterhole, barely alive, and her confused little calf loyally still by her side trying as best he could to offer her the protection he knew she needed. How long she had been like that was never established, but clearly for some time. Any hope of retrieval was unrealistic, as Zombeís health was now seriously failing and the reasons for her condition still unclear. With little option the decision was made by Dr. Lekelol to euthanize her and put her out of any further suffering and rescue her calf before he fell prey to the predators.

The calfs dying mother  The calf near his dying mother

The calf hiding in the long grass  Preparing the dart for immobilization

The orphaned calf

Her baby we know is two years old as his birth and first two years have been observed and filmed by the Amboseli Elephant Research team. He was a big and robust calf, typical of Amboseli elephants, and because of the stressful situation it was decided the best route would be to dart him, put him to sleep and for him to be transported by air to Nairobi, a short flight of 40 minutes. With the help of KWS and the Masai community, from the area where Zombie and her calf shared their last days, committed to helping the rescue team in lifting the immobilized calf onto the back of the KWS land cruiser and later with the heavy task of loading the calf onto the waiting aircraft this whole process was managed quickly before nightfall.

The immobilized calf  Community members interested in what is going on

The immobilzed calf nearly ready for transport  Preparing to place the calf on the tarpauline

In the vehicle on the way to the airstrip  Loading the calf

The loaded calf  Securing the calf for the flight

Preparing for take off

They arrived at the Nursery in the late evening, and the calf was woken once safely inside the stockade that would be home for the next five days. He seemed confused, but was immediately comforted by the surrounding orphans, and began to feed immediately on both milk from a bottle and greens. He tamed down incredibly fast, with an insatiable lust for his milk bottle. He seemed to relish company once more, but his haunted eyes carried the memory of his lost mother. We called him Ziwa. Ziwa means waterhole, and given that his old life ended at a waterhole and his new life began there it seemed fitting, also keeping the Z from his motherís name.

The calf arrives at the nursery  Carrying the calf into the stockade

The still immobilized calf in the stockade  Administering the revival drug

Ziwa hiding in the corner  Ziwa in the corner of his stockade

Ziwa unsure of his surroundings  Ziwa feeding in the stockade

Ziwa tamed fast and it was just five days before he was safely out with the others and heading to the midday mud bath time open to the public. Obviously with communication from the others he was fully briefed, because he was down there amazingly, around the visitors on his first day out of the stockades.

The calf is called Ziwa  Suswa greets Ziwa

In the stockade  Ziwa reaching out in greeting

He is a lovely gentle elephant, who has found many new elephant friends in the Nursery. His condition is good and he simply loves his milk bottle, so Ziwa is a brave and lucky little elephant, afforded a second chance thanks to the hard efforts of many.

Ziwa out in the bush  Running around

At mudbath  Entering the mudwallow


Please see the resources above for more information on ZIWA

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