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

Name Gender Date Born Location Found Age on Arrival Comments Reason for being Orphaned
 TOMBOI  Male  Tuesday, December 10, 2002 Samburu National Reserve  Days Old  Thought to be separated from family by stampede in Samburu National Reserve  Panic Separation or Stampede 

Latest Updates on TOMBOI:

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

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

11/14/2018 - It was a quiet morning today as the orphans walked down to the Lucerne feeding area after their milk bottles. They were given some Lucerne pellets and were all busy enjoying those. Tomboi was the only ex-orphan who came to join them. He was greedy and was carrying extra Lucerne on his head while still feeding on what was in front of him!

The orphans walked to an area with lots of green grass today with their Keepers, and they were all busy feeding on that which they found delicious. They enjoyed that grass until it was time to go for their midday milk bottles.

At the mud bath there were four wild bulls who came to drink from the water troughs. The orphans went straight to the mud hole after their milk and started playing there. Mundusi came out of the mud hole using a different exit point to usual and struggled to get up the steep wall.

Later on, another group of wild bulls came to join the ones already there. Enkikwe was the last one to get out of the water as he walked out extra carefully to avoid being hurt. It was very hot and the orphans walked to the bush and stayed in the shade for some time. Sapalan was very active and was browsing as usual which was good to see. The rest were busy browsing with Galla browsing from the highest branches as he searched for the freshest and tastiest ones possible. Later in the evening, Siangiki led the group back home for their milk, with most of them in a happy mood which was obvious as they wagged and swayed their heads on their way back home

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

 Tomboi taking a walk in the Nairobi National Park Tomboi and Dr. Sheldrick playing
Tomboi taking a walk in the Nairobi National Park
photo taken on 3/15/2003
Tomboi and Dr. Sheldrick playing
photo taken on 12/26/2002


On the morning of the 15th December, an alert came from Ian Craig of Lewa Downs that there was an infant orphan in Samburu National Reserve. Immediately a rescue was scrambled, the plane left, and when it was 15 minutes out of Nairobi, we received another phone call from Ian Douglas-Hamilton of Save The Elephants Foundation to the effect that they would like to try and return the calf to its rightful owner - the mother. We recalled the plane and awaited news of the success or otherwise of this exercise, having warned Ian that although we had been successful returning a baby to its mother in Amboseli on two occasions, the lesson of little Seraa prompted caution with the Laikipia population, who have been subjected to a great deal of poaching and human harassment. Iain Craig had told us that gunshots had been heard in Samburu the previous night, and we suspected that this could have caused the calf to be either separated from the herd and abandoned, or orphaned.

Tomboi having a feed before takeoff  Tomboi is loaded into the Cessna 206

Tomboi is given his first drink of milk

At 4 p.m. another call from Samburu informed us that an attempt had been made to return the calf to his aunt, the mother not having been found, and known to have crossed the Uaso Nyiro river to join her sister and remaining family, her own mother having died some time ago. It was, apparently, the first calf of a very young mother, who estimated to be only about 10 years of age - another result of a population in disarray, deprived of a normal family structure where all the age groups are intact, and when a young cow would be protected from the advances of unruly young bulls by older dominant females.

Ready for takeoff

It was already very late to be able to make Samburu and back in daylight, but the plane left hurriedly, and we waited to see whether the pilot could make it before it became too dark to land at Wilson Airport. He managed, and little "Tomboi" arrived at our premises at 8pm.

Tiny little Tomboi  Tomboi sleeps with his Keeper close at hand

Fuzzy little Tomboi

We estimated the calf to be no more than 1 week old, if that. He had his wound cleaned and treated, and the precautionary antibiotic to forestall diseases that manifest themselves as a result of trauma and shock. We had to wait to see whether had benefited from his mother's Colostrum, and if he bgean to fail, as did little "Wendi", then he was going to receivbe blood plasma to trigger his immune system, which is what saved her life and also that of "Imenti" who is now a young bull of eight, romping around in Tsavo.

Tomboi and Dr. Sheldrick playing  Tomboi is Thriving before Christmas 2002

He had a nasty gash in his cheek, which the Rangers thought might be as a result of an attack from a leopard before being rescued at 5.30 a.m. after he was heard screaming near the Ranger Quarters. However, upon closer inspection of the wound, it is obviously caused by a blunt object, and we suspect as a result of being tusked, probably when the herd panicked. His name is "Tomboi" which, in the Samburu dialect means "Boy without a Father". His mother's name is Temperome, his aunt known as Chastity and he apparently belongs to the family known as the Virtues.(Endurume was his Virtue name).

Tomboi did very well at the Nairobi Nursery and was moved in the first group with Wendi and Yatta to Ithumba in 2004. He has maintained a tight bond with these females as well as his human family, and frequents the Ithumba stockades to say hello to the Keepers and the dependent orphans there.

Please see the resources above for more information on TOMBOI

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