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

Name Gender Date Born Location Found Age on Arrival Comments Reason for being Orphaned
 MADIBA  Male  September 2003 Botswana, Southern Africa  Days old  Found in a river bed suffering from a deep head wound. Abandoned by family  Natural Causes 

Latest Updates on MADIBA:

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

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

1/3/2018 - Laragai, who had let her group out the previous evening, reported early in the morning at the stockade compound. She was accompanied by Kithaka, Lemoyian, Garzi, Barsilinga, Sokotei, Enkikwe, Siangiki and Olsekki. The group welcomed their friends for yet another day out in the bush. Shortly later, Kibo, Chemi Chemi, Kalama, Murka, Kandecha, Kitirua and Naisula showed up and joined the orphans. Led by Laragai, the group headed towards the Kalovoto area where they settled to browse. Sapalan settled to browse with Namalok while Wanjala settled to browse with Kauro. Pare, one of the racing team members, settled to feed with Siangiki. At mud bath time, the orphans were briefly joined by Ex Orphans Galana, baby Gawa, Zurura, Madiba and Chyulu. The orphans preferred to have a mud bath in a small water hole a distance away from the main one. Namalok enjoyed splashing water behind his ears as Madiba stood on guard. Ukame loved playing with baby Gawa and if it were not for the intervention by keepers, she might even have left with Galana and Gawa since the game was so enjoyable, and she didn’t think to walk back to her friends. Sapalan teamed up with Chyulu and Madiba and just as we thought that Sapalan would be snatched by the duo, to our surprise Madiba and Chyulu escorted Sapalan back to join his younger friends.

In the afternoon, Kauro took a break from feeding to participate in a soil dusting exercise and on the way back to the stockade, the orphans passed by the mud bath to cool off again in the hot weather.

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

 Madiba having a mudbath (right) Madiba clowning around
Madiba having a mudbath (right)
photo taken on 11/16/2004
Madiba clowning around
photo taken on 11/2/2004


With the approach of Christmas 2003, the Trust dispersed a small pamphlet to promote our online Fostering Programme, saying, “What do you dream of having for Christmas?” The answer was, of course, “A Baby Elephant”. However this was not at the top of our particular list of priorities (which would have been the milk to feed our growing elephant family). At the time we already had 8 in our Nairobi Nursery and another 31 growing up down in Tsavo – a BIG family, by any standards. However, for us, “the dream” came true in an unusual way – the arrival by air of a tiny Southern African orphan named “Ollie”, despite immense pressure from many quarters in that part of the world from those who think that only humans are worthy of compassion, and all other living creatures are a mere commercial commodity for sale to the highest bidder. Fortunately, not all people in Southern Africa think that way; hence the saving of “Olly”. Said the famous Naturalist Albert Schweitzer, “until mankind can extend his compassion to the animals, he will never find peace”. We, in Kenya, are proud to be the one country in Africa whose wildlife policy incorporates the vital ingredient of compassion and animal welfare, something that is demonstrated on a daily basis by the hundreds of Kenyans who flock to our Nairobi Nursery to watch and wonder as the infant elephant babies take their noon mud bath.

The Trust's Keepers stand by on the apron waiting for Madiba's arrival  The plane carrying Madiba arrives the evening of 23rd December

The landrover parks close to the PC 12 aircraft so that Madiba's crate could be manoeuvred off the plane  Madiba in his crate is carefully lowered onto the DSWT landrover

Of course, we welcomed little “Ollie” with a feeling of great joy, knowing that that this tiny elephant had evaded a life of bondage. We thank the kind people in South Africa who battled long and hard, and withstood mounting pressure, in order to offer little “Ollie” the priceless gift of freedom and a quality of life among wild kin when grown in a Protected Area that offers the space that elephants need. Especially commended are The Bateleurs, pilots who donate their time and their planes to environmental issues and particularly we must thank Mr. and Mrs. Roland Kerer, who coordinated this crucial part towards the saving of Ollie. The Tanzanian based Coastal Air most generously and very kindly airlifted the little elephant at no cost and went out of their usual area of operation to bring the elephant to Wilson Airport in Nairobi. Karen Trendler and the Staff of Wildcare took good care of Ollie for the three months it took to organise all the CITES permits, and the South African arm of IFAW shouldered contingency expenses during this time.

Madiba (Olly) with Karen Trendler

Ollie was rescued in Botswana, found in a riverbed suffering from a deep head wound, possibly inflicted by a predator, which left him confused, able only to walk in circles, and abandoned by his elephant family who had obviously given all hope for his survival. After difficulty, he was moved from Botswana to Wildcare near Pretoria, an internationally recognised rehabilitation center that takes in four legged waifs and strays. From there, the wheels were set in motion for the elephant to be able to come to Kenya and join our orphaned elephant family. And on the 23rd December 2003, after a 7 hour journey, lightly sedated and crated, he arrived at Wilson Airport in Nairobi at 6 p.m. in the evening, accompanied by Karen Trendler. From there he was transported to our Elephant Nursery, and there he walked out of his crate into the Nursery stable next to little “Sunyei” where he spent the night with Keeper Edwin.

Madiba with Julius having a light dustbath.  He arrived as such a fuzzy little elephant

The very next day he was out and about with the other 8 Nursery inmates, cosseted by them all, and particularly by the Mini Nursery Matriarch, “Wendi” who is delighted to welcome into the group another very small, very furry, baby of 3 months, tiny for his age, smaller even than 2 month old "Ndomot".

Ndomot and Madiba play fighting  Madiba having a mudbath (right)

Madiba clowning around

With the permission of Wildcare, we changed his name to reflect his Southern African origins and he became known as “Madiba”, the name by which famous Nelson Mandela was affectionately known in his homeland.

Madiba is now an ex-orphan and still seen regularly around the Ithumba Unit where he was reintroduced to the wild.

Please see the resources above for more information on MADIBA

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