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

Name Gender Date Born Location Found Age on Arrival Comments Reason for being Orphaned
 MAKTAO  Male  Thursday, April 20, 2017 Makatao, Tsavo West National Park  3 months  Found alone by a community member with no other elephant herds in sight  Human / Wildlife Conflict 

Latest Updates on MAKTAO:

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

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

12/31/2018 - Itís the last day of the year and it was another sunny day. The babies were engaged in all different activities. Some, like Sattao, Kiasa, Musiara, Maisha and Maktao were playing push and pull games. Some of the big girls like Kuishi, Sagala and Tagwa were pulling and picking branches from the tops of some small trees. The biggest Nursery boys, Jotto and Ambo, were basking in the sun. Kiko was enjoying as usual from the tops of the trees nearby. The playful girls Malima and Tamiyoi were play-chasing him around as he tried to browse. He was enjoying all the different leaves, and at once stage bent low so he could sample some of the tasty ones from a smaller shrub as well. Tiny Maarifa was warming her little body in the sun as well, as her Keepers stood by her and watched for her safety as she took a little nap. The year of 2018 ended well for all the little orphans in the Nairobi Nursery.

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

 Maktao wrapped up in the helicopter Maktao healthy in the Nursery
Maktao wrapped up in the helicopter
photo taken on 9/22/2017
Maktao healthy in the Nursery
photo taken on 8/29/2017


In the early morning on the 21st of July reports from a community member were received by the DSWT Ziwani Anti-Poaching team based in Tsavo West National Park alerting them about an elephant calf that had been sighted the previous day alone. That morning he was found again, still alone in hostile territory. Because some of the neighboring communities have suffered at the hands of crop raiding elephants and given the location we suspect human wildlife conflict the reason for this young baby being orphaned.

Peter Wambua, the Ziwani team leader, immediately mobilized his men who were accompanied by KWS rangers and rushed to the scene, mindful that any delay could prove costly for this baby abandoned within not a particularly Ďelephant friendlyí community. They communicated with Dr. Poghon, KWS veterinary officer seconded to DSWTís Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit, and also communicated to the Tsavo West Senior Warden. The decision was made to save the calf in the absence of any elephant herds within the area. Once the team had captured the calf and brought him back to the safety of KWSís Makatao base within the National Park, the need for a rescue was reported to Angela Sheldrick who coordinated the DSWT helicopter to head directly to Makatao from Kaluku, the Trustís field headquarters. Makatao is on the eastern boundary of Tsavo West National Park and approximately an hour flight from Kaluku where the Trustís air wing is based. While the helicopter was made ready, with the back seats removed to make space for the baby, DSWT Helicopter pilot Andy Payne loaded the emergency rescue bag filled with all the paraphernalia required to restrain and carry elephant orphans. DSWT bush pilot Neville Sheldrick arranged to accompany Andy so that he could supervise the calf throughout the flight to Nairobi.

Pilot's returning to Tsavo!

On arrival they found a very thirsty yet perky little elephant, following people, and appearing to be in good condition. His dry crinkled skin indicated he was extremely dehydrated and given his desire to drink copious quantities of water, it was clear he was extremely hungry for milk too. Without the correct milk formula on hand Andy made sure he drank a healthy fill of water before preparing him for the one hour flight to Nairobi. The baby trailed Andy trustingly down the airstrip before he was wrapped in a blanket and bundled onto his side so that his feet could be securely strapped. With the help from the team he was loaded into the back of the DSWT helicopter and made comfortable with a blanket covering his eyes. Neville arranged to sit beside him for the duration of the flight, ensuring he remained calm and still.

Pilot Andy feeding the orphan some clean water  Little orphan following Andy the pilot

Thankfully the noise from the turbine engine together with the gentle motion seemed to lull him to sleep so throughout the flight he remained completely calm.

Maktao wrapped up in the helicopter  Maktao very calm on the flight

It was when the helicopter began to descend at the Trustís Nursery situated within Nairobi National Park that he became rather restless. The crew and baby were met by many able hands in the form of our Nursery Keepers and Angela, all eager to be involved in the door to door delivery of an orphaned calf. They set about gently unloading the precious cargo and then hauled him by hand, cocooned in the canvas stretcher the short distance to a prepared stable.

Maktao being offloaded the helicopter  Maktao carried to the Nursery

Maktao being carried to his stable  Carrying Maktao to his stable

Being able to collect the orphan without delay and deliver him right to the door of the Nursery stable in the Trustís helicopter ensured many hours were saved, and with a calf this young and so dehydrated this proved invaluable and certainly contributed hugely to his quick rebound back to perfect health.
Because he was so dehydrated, and while fresh milk was prepared for him, a drip was administered soon after arrival to help replace his lost fluids as we know he had to have been a long time without both milk and water before finally being found and saved.

Securing a life saving drip for Maktao  Life saving milk formula in his new stable

Head Keeper Edwin checking his age  Comforting our new arrival

We named this little baby bull Maktao, the name of the area close to where he was found, only with a slight tweak in the spelling so as not to confuse things with the place name. Right from the outset it was evident that this little baby boy had attitude! He was perky and rambunctious once his strength returned, but to begin with remained restless, obviously searching for his Mum, and this was the case for a number of days before he finally settled. We estimated him to be about three months old on arrival.

Maktao and his friends Musiara and Sattao  Maktao enjoying a mudbath

Maktao immediately became a permanent member of the baby herd, chaperoned by loyal Luggard who has made the baby group his very own due to his injuries inhibiting him from keeping up with the older group, along with Sattao and Musiara, and these elephants have become his friends and companions and certainly helped him settle. He also found some surrogate Mummyís in the form of Mbegu and Godoma who constantly pamper the babies, singling out any new arrival for special treatment. It was no different for Maktao, and for him so recently losing his elephant herd, this was the very balm he needed to heal and grow healthy once more and today, Maktao is all energy and attitude.

Esampu and Maktao at the Nursery  Maktao with his keeper

Maktao healthy in the Nursery  Maktao


Please see the resources above for more information on MAKTAO

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