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

Name Gender Date Born Location Found Age on Arrival Comments Reason for being Orphaned
 AMBO  Male  January 2016 Amboseli Environs  4 months  Discovered by a Community member stuck in mud - reported to Big Life Foundation  Stuck in Mud 

Latest Updates on AMBO:

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

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

7/31/2018 - Sometimes Ambo and Jotto choose to revive their old friendship, and today was one of those days. The two boys spent most of their day together, away from the main herd. They were spotted playing wrestling games, as well as hide and seek, before settling back into browsing again. The twin-like sisters Ndiwa and Sagala had company from Sana Sana today. Ndiwa and Sagala look so similar sometimes we have a hard time telling them apart, and they are very close in character as well! To top it off, they are very good friends too and we will often see them together when Ndiwa is not off browsing on her own. Today they were accompanied by Sana Sana when they sneaked away from the herd to browse on their own.
Because of Kiasa’s behaviour during milk feeding times, often she is held back until last so as not to cause any problems, and it seems she knows this as well, although sometimes she tries to sneak out first before she can be stopped from going for the milk. In the evening however, she has no one to fight over milk with in her room, so she is always allowed down first with Enkesha.

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


photo taken on 6/9/2016

photo taken on 6/9/2016


On the evening of the 24th of April Angela Sheldrick was contacted by Craig Miller from Big Life regarding an orphaned elephant who had been located stuck in a waterhole in Amboseli.

He was first discovered by a community member who happened to have a relative working as a sergeant within the Big Life Ranger force; he contacted Big Life alerting them of this baby’s fate in the hope that he could be saved. This all took place at 5.00pm in the afternoon and how long he had been stricken in the mud was not clear, but later information suggested as long as 48 hours. Big Life ops room immediately deployed two vehicles to the scene, with the plan of assisting the calf out of the mud in the hope the mother would return later, but when the two ranger teams arrived the calf had freed itself and was wandering alone.

Ambo at the airstrip  Ambo waiting rescue in the landcruiser

It was now 7pm and getting darker by the minute so the teams quickly started to track the calf. By 8pm they had lost the tracks as the mud covering the calf had started to dry up and stopped leaving an easy to follow trail. So the two teams decided to split up and search in two extended lines in the two directions they thought the calf had most likely headed. At around 9pm one team picked the calf up in the cars headlights, he was younger than originally thought and there was little chance he would have the energy and knowledge needed to find his mum which would also depend on the mother returning. The team watched him for another hour and then made the decision to catch him and keep him overnight for the DSWT to collect the next morning. Arrangements were made for a room to be made available and the ranger whose brother reported the calf in the first place stayed with him all night in Ol Tokai. Even though he was a big calf in good condition he appeared very weak, and not particularly strong having been without milk and water for a very long time.


Craig Millar of Big Life arrived early in the morning and together with Ol Tokai staff, Katito from ATE and the Big Life rangers the calf was transferred to the airstrip. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust was able to mobilize a rescue very early on the morning of the 25th of April and despite driving rain in Nairobi the rescue team were able to land in Amboseli by 9.15am. The calf was estimated to be approximately four months old. On arrival at the Amboseli airfield our Keepers were greeted by the Big Life team who had looked after their little elephant charge overnight. He was given milk which he took earnestly and was then prepared for the flight back to Nairobi.

Receiving milk at the airstrip  

He was placed on a saline drip while the plane waited on the ground in Amboseli, avoiding zero visibility conditions in Nairobi as the rain continued to bucket down.

Preparing for the flight  Ready to be transported

Eventually, with a small window in the weather, the rescue team took off and timed it to perfection, arriving in Nairobi while there was some respite from the wet and sodden conditions. The baby was off-loaded from the plane, loaded into the back of the covered DSWT pickup and driven to the Nairobi Nursery, a journey of approximately 20 minutes, and where upon arrival he was placed in a dry and warm stable.

Following the keeper to the rescue plane  Ambo receives a drip on the plane

It was clear the little bull calf was simply exhausted by this time, as he swayed on his feet fighting fatigue. Eventually he was calm enough to lie on the soft hay and have a well-deserved sleep with a loving Keeper for company making sure the drip kept him hydrated while he slept. His stable was positioned between two other orphans both who have recently arrived in our care, and having the quiet presence from these other babies was helpful indeed as he settled and fed and slept throughout his first night, with a confidence that he was amidst other elephants.


We have called this little bull Ambo after the location where he was found. As the days progressed Ambo has thrived thankfully, and has settled into the routine here at the Nursery. He is full of character, loving both his Keepers and the other orphaned elephants.

Ambo scratching on a tree  


Please see the resources above for more information on AMBO

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