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

Name Gender Date Born Location Found Age on Arrival Comments Reason for being Orphaned
 MUSIARA  Male  Saturday, December 3, 2016 Musiara Area in the Maasai Mara  6 weeks   Seen by a film crew trailing a wild herd with no lactating females around  Reason Unknown 

Latest Updates on MUSIARA:

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

9/25/2017 - Some of the buffaloes that inhabit the National Park have discovered the lucerne grass that is given to Maxwell and they come at night to steal the leftovers. At about 6am, just when it was time for the orphan elephants to be let out of their nighttime stockades, six buffaloes were still enjoying Maxwell’s leftover lucerne which they can reach through his gate. Pili must have had a bad dream as he was in a deep sleep when he suddenly burst into loud trumpeting. This startled the buffaloes who became very scared and took off in all directions. Some became trapped when they tried to jump into the bushy garden next to Maxwell’s gate and one even ran into Murit’s stockade whilst he was sleeping. Murit woke up with a start and screamed for help which frightened Jotto who tried to climb onto his keeper’s bed. The bed was too high for him but the keeper quickly jumped down and soothed him. All in all it was a very shocking start to the morning!

Esampu is a very naughty girl and was causing trouble today by bullying Ambo, Enkesha, Jotto and Malima. The four grouped together, but Esampu came over and head butted them one by one then ran away. She then found Maktao quietly feeding on lucerne pellets and pushed Maktao so hard he fell over. Maktao rolled several times towards the line of visitors; almost rolling onto the feet of people nearby. Esampu was lucky that Godoma was busy wallowing at the other end of the mud bath and didn’t see what she was up to so she avoided discipline for her naughty behaviour. Maktao can also be a bit naughty and was bullying Emoli, Maisha, Sattao and Musiara by pushing them away from the keepers so he can keep all their attention for himself. However, he was very kind and friendly to the newcomer Pili, as if he knows he is younger and needs the extra care.
Ngilai loves playing with his human family and today he was in a playful mood. He sneaked under the rope to try and play with the visitors but the keepers acted fast and brought him back into the circle in case he accidentally hurt someone.

Late in the afternoon our helicopter from Aerial Surveillance unit landed at the Nursery with a two year old elephant orphan on board from Voi in Tsavo. We named her Sagala.

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

 With all the other orphans Musiara with Godoma
With all the other orphans
photo taken on 6/22/2017
Musiara with Godoma
photo taken on 6/22/2017


This tiny calf was first observed by a film crew on the plains of the Maasai Mara and after hours of observation it became clear to them that something was definitely not as it should be, as the calf was very weak, and appeared a stranger to the herd. While the herd he was trailing were certainly curious of him, with one female in particular paying special attention, there were no lactating females present in the herd, and soon they left him behind while they moved on with their browsing. It was at this point the film crew first alerted the authorities and Warren Samuels called Angela and sent through photographs of the baby suspecting he was an orphan and might require rescuing.

The Mara at the time was desperately dry, and it was clear the baby was emaciated and totally dehydrated, so with the wild herd forced to move on to sustain themselves in this dry and challenging time, the calf eventually lay down under the shade of a tree, vulnerable and alone, with his life force ebbing away rapidly. The Maasai Mara warden responded and drove to the site to be absolutely sure the baby was an orphan and in need of a rescue, but on arrival the calf was by now unresponsive, with only a faint heart beat evident of any life. The rescue was mobilized and the DSWT team flown in to the closest strip and the calf was delivered to the team in the back of the Mara Warden's landcruiser. It was evident that we were going to have a battle on our hands to retrieve this baby, whose plight remains a mystery to this day, because while he was first sighted trailing a herd of elephants in the Mara, his whole body, eyes, and mouth were caked in dried mud. It is possible he was stuck in the swamp, and managed to extract himself or was aided perhaps by the herd he was first discovered trailing - but we think before that happened he had spent a long while without his mother to be in such a critical state.

Waiting for the calf  Getting the calf out of the landcruiser

Helping the calf to its feet  The calf with the keepers and rescuers

Placing the calf on the rescue tarp  Preparing the calf for the flight

  Ready for the flight

Checking the calf is ok before loading into the plane  Getting the calf's information

He was placed on lifesaving drips and flown to Nairobi. While unloading his limp body into a stable of freshly cut hay I don’t think there were many amidst our team who secretly believed he could be saved as he appeared too far gone at the time, however we have known many miracles over the years, and that is one thing the DSWT teams are very aware of - never give up hope.

Loaded and ready for the trip to Nairobi

Carrying the calf to the pickup  Offloading the calf at Wilson

Loaded in the pickup  On the way to the Nursery

Placed in the stocakde  

Thanks to the intravenous hydration he was receiving he began to stir, and after a number of hours was able to be aided to his feet and fed diluted milk. This he slowly drank but soon collapsed once again. This pattern continued for days, with his trunk lying limp and copious quantities of fluids dripping from both trunk and mouth. But as the days passed time on his feet increased, and the strength in his lifeless trunk began to return, and he could begin to lift it himself, and move it, and in time even dust himself.

Sweet Musiara  Musiara and Chumvi

Musiara and another baby following a keeper  Musiara sucking a keepers fingers

We estimate he was just a few weeks old on arrival as he had one little tooth popping through his gums, the teething process always a precarious time, and with zero reserves to see him through this difficult time it only added to our challenge.

Musiara dustbathing  Musiara having milk


However with the constant presence of a loving Keeper, and the patient nurturing daily routine, of dust baths, hydration and milk feeds he grew stronger. We had our wobbles with boats of upset stomach which would push us backwards, but the general trend was one of improved recovery. We named this little bull Musiara after the Maasai Mara Musiara swamps close to where he was discovered, and we feel immensely proud of have healed this poor unfortunate boy, retrieving him from the jaws of death. He is a lovely character-full little chap, with a strong will to live, which in such precarious circumstances can very often be the difference between life and death.

With all the other orphans  Musiara with Godoma

Musiara playing


Please see the resources above for more information on MUSIARA

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