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

Name Gender Date Born Location Found Age on Arrival Comments Reason for being Orphaned
 LESANJU  Female  Tuesday, September 5, 2006 Milgis Lugga  Four Weeks  She fell down a sandy well dug for cattle in the seasonal river bed of the Milgis Lugga and was rescued by Samburu tribes men  Man Made Cause for Separation 

Latest Updates on LESANJU:

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

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

2/25/2018 - The day began with Layoni and Dabassa coming and visiting the stockade, after a three week absence following their joining up with Emily and Lesanju’s herds. The two drank water and enjoyed lucerne grass, range cubes and the copra cake, before leaving for the field. Sadly the two Ex Orphans did not join up with the stockade dependent herd.

In the afternoon, the orphan elephants made their way to the baobab tree water hole for their milk and a mud bath. Arruba grabbed her second milk bottle pulling it out of the keeper’s hands and downing the milk as she ran away worried that Bada, Lentili, Tundani, Mudanda and Nelion who were coming for their share may try and steal her bottle. When she was satisfied that she had finished every last drop she discarded the bottle leaving it for the keepers to collect and return to the crate.

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

 Roan with Lesanju Lesanju with her cut ears
Roan with Lesanju
photo taken on 10/24/2006
Lesanju with her cut ears
photo taken on 10/24/2006


It is uncanny that most Elephant rescues always seem to happen on a Sunday. Yet again this happened for the rescue of tiny “Lesanju”, on Sunday 15th October 2006, who fell down an 18ft well dug to access water for the Samburu cattle in the Milgis Lugga - the largest seasonal watercourse between the stunningly beautiful Mathews and the Ndotos mountain range in the Northern Frontier of Kenya. She was rescued from this deep sand well by the brother of a very respected Samburu Chief named “Lesanju” who died only very recently, and at the request of the rescuer, (his brother), and Helen Douglas-Dufresne who heads the recently formed Milgis Trust, and was instrumental in coordinating the rescue and saving this tiny calf, our latest little elephant has been named “Lesanju”.

The Milgis Lugga Northern Kenya  

Lesanju's rescuers Milgis Norther Kenya

She is only about 4 weeks old, and she arrived in a Helicopter that landed, literally, at our doorstep, kindly loaned by Mr. Halvor Astrup, the owner of Enoiset Ranch near Nanyuki. The little elephant had been without her mother for some 36 hours before being rescued and had been held at a remote Samburu manyatta far removed from any road or airfield, so nothing but a Helicopter could activate this rescue. Too young to know fear she was loaded in the back of the Helicopter with Helen by her side for the flight from the North to Nairobi. On arrival she trustingly walked from the Helicopter with the Keepers to her waiting stable, where she was fed her first bottle of milk and given the first precautionary antibiotic injection to guard against pneumonia and other stress related conditions that depress an animal’s natural immune system. We are deeply grateful to Mr. Astrup for so kindly collecting this baby from such a remote destination, and furthermore for going the extra mile and bringing her to us in his Helicopter, which saved us a great deal of trouble, particularly on a Sunday! We are also very grateful to Helen Douglas-Dufresne for coordinating the calf’s rescue, and to the Helicopter Pilot, Phil Mathews who once headed the KWS Airwing, so is well known to us.

Website profile of Lansanju being loaded  Helen Douglas Dufresne with Lesnaju

Lesanju in the helicopter held by Helen Douglas-D  The arrival of little Lesanju

Lesanju being loaded with her rescuers looking on

Mischak and Lesanju  Lasanju takes her first bottle of milk

It is customary amongst the pastoral Samburu people to mark their animals by cutting an ear, and sadly, the orphaned baby elephant underwent similar initiation. A large wedge of her right ear has been severed entirely, and the other ear slashed with a deep gash that has interrupted the blood supply to its lower half. As a result she lost some of that ear as well. Helen and her colleagues within the Milgris Trust will be doing their best to educate the Samburu people of the area that an elephant needs intact ears, for they are the means by which it regulates temperature, and that the ears of an elephant are a very important part of the animal’s anatomy. Well meaningly, little “Lesanju’s” captors also tried to feed her cows’ milk and maizemeal gruel, and assuming that she may have ingested even a little, neither of these will do her digestive system any good, so we have had some difficulty stabilizing that. However, apart from the mutilated ears, and incorrect feeding, she arrived in reasonable physical condition. The ears will heal, and will make her always identifiable, in the same category as some of our other orphans who have suffered damage to their ears, for instance Burra, whose one ear was almost cut in half by a wire snare, Laikipia and Loisaba whose ears were similarly “marked” by their Samburu captors) and Kinna and Kamboyo who suffered sun damage to their ears in very early babyhood when in a perfect world they should have been sheltered beneath their mother’s belly.


Lesanju sleeping  Lasanju playing

Lesanju following Angela's sons Roan and Taru  Angela Sheldrick's son, Roan Carr-Hartley with the newcomer

Roan with Lesanju

Lesanju with her cut ears


Please see the resources above for more information on LESANJU

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