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

Name Gender Date Born Location Found Age on Arrival Comments Reason for being Orphaned
 KARISA  Male  Friday, October 24, 2014 Kirisia Forest - Maralal  Approximately 2 years old  Found with his fatally injured mother who had a shattered femur and several other bullet wounds to the head  Human / Wildlife Conflict 

Latest Updates on KARISA:

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

10/30/2017 - Soon after leaving the stockade, Shukuru and Kamok kept themselves busy by scratching on nearby rocks while Sirimon played with Sokotei as they waited for the distribution of lucerne. Half Trunk with a group of five wild bulls were drinking water at the stockade water troughs when one of the bulls grew curious and came to see what the orphans were up to; he must have been new in the area as he seemed to want to understand why these young elephants, all of difference sizes, had converged in one place and were picking things from the ground. The bull joined the orphans and to his surprise the orphans were enjoying feeding on something very nice. The bull stayed with the orphans until everything was finished and only then the bull returned to his friends and probably boasted about his delicious heavy breakfast. The orphans headed to Kanziku area where they had a quiet morning browsing without any major observation.

After mud bath time, the orphans settled to browse in the upper Kalovoto area where Karisa had a brief chat with Enkikwe. The conversation went on for quite some time. This was unusual as Karisa always tries to keep distance from the big boys for fear of being bullied. Later the keepers discovered that Karisa was planning to escape with Enkikwe, but Enkikwe had declined. Karisa had decided to wonder off alone when the keepers that Karisa was missing. Karisa had already disappeared with Dupotto and Kelelari in the past and a search was mounted immediately. To the keepersí surprise, Karisa was found nearly a kilometer away from his friends, heading east!

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

  Karisa out with the others

photo taken on 11/23/2017
Karisa out with the others
photo taken on 1/22/2017


On the 23rd of November we had the heart breaking task of rescuing a baby elephant from Kirisia Forest in Northern Kenya, whose mother had a shattered leg caused by a bullet. This was a horrendous case of human-wildlife conflict in which the elephant was completely unable to move as a result of her injuries. During the time she was under observation, she remained immobile, bravely being protected by her two-year-old calf, who remained by her side throughout.

Our rescue team was dispatched to the closest airstrip, accompanied by KWS Vet Dr Fred Olianga. Once on the ground, a Samburu Trust vehicle and scouts rushed them to the scene where the decision was made to tranquilize the calf and anesthetize the mother.


  The rescue time arrives on the scene

The calf with its mother  The injured mother

In a situation such as this there is always the fear that whilst succumbing to the effects of the anesthetic, the mother might fall on her calf, but the team managed to prevent this as she staggered and began to fall. They then managed to capture and restrain the calf whilst Dr. Olianga attended to the recumbent mother. She had a horrendous compound fracture on her leg, with a part of the shattered femur visible through the skin. There were also bullet wounds to her head as well, so it was now very evident that the kindest approach would be to euthanize the mother elephant and rescue the calf. Such decisions and rescues always weigh heavily on all involved, but this was a particularly painful and tragic case. However, all attention now focused on the calf, who had bravely remained by the motherís side throughout the ordeal, despite the situation having attracted a large crowd of curious community members. The calf was then captured, prepared for travel, and loaded into the Samburu Trustís landcruiser to be driven to the airfield where the rescue plane waited. His beautiful mother was put out of her misery.

The mother is anaesthetized  The vet examining the injured elephant

Part of the femur poking through the skin  

The immobilized calf  At the airstrip

Loading the calf into the plane

We have named this brave little boy Karisa after the area in which he was rescued (with a different spelling). Initially he was understandably extremely unsettled and aggressive, but thanks to the presence of the other orphans surrounding his stockade at night, he very soon settled, and began feeding well, taking his milk from a hand-held bottle. He then began to suckle on the Keepersí fingers and as the days passed, became much calmer and happier in his new surroundings. Having experienced so much trauma in his young life, we were all committed to doing our absolute utmost to ensure that he could overcome the heartache of losing his Mum and it was not long before he appeared ready to join the others out from the confines of his stockade. From day one, he relished their company, and was immediately warmly welcomed. Since then Karisa has settled remarkably well, and really appears to be happy again, and settled with many special elephant friends around him, all having lived through trauma of losing their Mums. Thanks also to the dedication of the Keepers and the company of other elephant friends, psychological healing happens over time, and true happiness is again found.

On arrival at the Nursery  Off loading the calf

The calf is placed in the stockade  

Karisa  The calf is called Karisa

Karisa in his stockade

Of course, since Karisa was approximately two years old when rescued, he remembers his wild life well and will certainly never forget his beautiful majestic Mother, but one thing we have learnt by rearing the orphans is that they possess the incredible ability to turn the page and forgive. Such forgiveness is the most humbling part of it all when a calf who has witnessed horrendous cruelty to his mother who had been shot in the leg and the head by humans, and who had ripped him away from her side. Despite this, he has quickly learnt to love the men in green who are his Keepers and new human family and whose gentle nurturing will ensure that he is given a second chance of life, and more than that, a quality of life in wild terms when grown. Karisaís circumstances were first reported by Julia Francombe, and it is thanks to KWS Vet Fred Olianga, who so swiftly made himself available to be on hand with the DSWT Rescue Team plus special gratitude to the Samburu Trust Scouts and KWS rangers who ensured that this little calf was given the best possible chance of happiness and a wild life again when grown within a Protected Area where he would not be so vulnerable to human wildlife conflict in the future.

  Karisa sucking his trunk

Tusuja, Karisa and Rapa  Mbegu, Karisa, Tagwa and Rapa

Jotto, Karisa, Lasayen and Oltaiyoni lying down  Mbegu with Karisa

Karisa out with the others


Please see the resources above for more information on KARISA

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