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

Name Gender Date Born Location Found Age on Arrival Comments Reason for being Orphaned
 MAPIA  Male  Sunday, November 6, 2016 Mapea Gap, Tsavo East National Park  1 year  Found in a collapsed state and left by the herd  Drought Related 

Latest Updates on MAPIA:

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

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

12/26/2018 - Ambo and Mapia have been neighbours for some time now. They always seem to get on well, but then Ambo sometimes thinks that ‘the grass may be greener on the other side’, which causes a bit of trouble. Today it was Ambo who returned to his room first at 5pm. After finishing his milk bottle he began his naughty antics and instead of feeding from his browse, he tried to reach through the partition to his neighbours share. Upon arriving at his room, Mapia was torn between defending his vegetation or having his milk bottle the Keeper was holding ready for him. He opted for the latter and after he was done with his milk he rushed over and tried to pull some of his branches back, and thus a game of tug-of-war began. The boys then began to push directly on their partition wall as the war escalated, and eventually a Keeper had to intervene.

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

 Mapia looking well Mapia having his milk
Mapia looking well
photo taken on 2/2/2018
Mapia having his milk
photo taken on 12/22/2017


On the 2nd of November with conditions desperate in Tsavo East due to failed rains and the prolonged drought, a little calf was sighted by Kenya Wildlife Service rangers while out patrolling on foot. He was found in a collapsed state and had been left for dead on an elephant path on the north bank of the Galana River, between the river and the Yatta Plateau, the longest lava flow in the world stretching some 300 km’s. A herd remained in the area close to the Mapea gap, where the elephant herds traverse through a natural depression in the Yatta, accessing the southern and northern areas of what is now known as the Tsavo East National Park. The Galana River flows through Tsavo East at the base of the Yatta Plateau and eventually onto the Indian Ocean. David Sheldrick, as the founding warden of Tsavo, first built the road across the Galana River, the Lugards Falls causeway and over the Yatta following the contours of well traversed elephant paths and this has formed the access between the southern and northern areas of the park ever since. It was on a similar path that this spent, ravaged and completely parched baby elephant lay. The Rangers were not actually sure he was still alive, and certainly didn’t fancy his chances of lasting until ground teams from Voi reached him. Thankfully they were swift to report his plight over the radio alerting our Voi elephant Keepers and the DSWT team accompanied by additional KWS Rangers rushed to the site. Due to the drought our teams have become well versed in the life saving protocols required to retrieve desperate drought-stricken victims who simply can no longer continue, so they carried with them all the necessary supplies and equipment required. At the same time the DSWT helicopter pilot Andy Payne was informed too so he prepared everything from his end, based out of our Kaluku Field headquarters. With ground teams and air rescue well coordinated unnecessary delays were avoided as with this case it was clear every minute was going to count.

By the time the team arrived on site, a one hour drive from Voi, HQ for the southern section of Tsavo East, the situation looked bleak. Despite the elephant herd lingering on the banks of the river we were forced to move the recumbent calf into the Landcruiser and make a hasty retreat to Lugards airfield on the south bank of the Galana River, just a short 5km drive away. Once there they lifted the baby out of the Landcruiser and lay him in the shade of an acacia tortilis tree, and immediately set about trying to revive him, placing an IV drip into the calf’s by now sunken veins so low was his blood pressure. To everyone’s relief after a while he stirred and they dared hope that just maybe they were in time to save his precious life. As they stabilized him, ensuring he received a healthy amount of fluids into his system, his eyes opened and he became increasingly responsive.

He was now prepared for transport, all during the most brutal time of day at 3.00pm with temperatures soaring, reaching some 38 degrees in the shade. By now Andy in the DSWT helicopter had arrived at the strip, and having removed the back seats already was prepared so the calf was carefully lifted and maneuvered into the aircraft and made comfortable with his legs safely strapped, all the while the IV fluids were still dripping into him. Without delay he was up and away and headed for our Nairobi Nursery as he was going to need serious intensive care for weeks and months to come back from the brink. Fittingly we named this young calf, estimated to be approximately a year old, Mapia, after the location where he was miraculously found in time.

Mapia on a drip on the Landcruiser  Preparing Mapia for the helicopter

Strapping Mapia into the helicopter

On arrival at the Nursery he was transported into a stockade at first, but with impending clouds threatening rain Angela made the decision to transfer him into a stable as he was going to require days of intensive managing his fluid levels and general weakness and the risk of rain could spell disaster in one so weak.

Mapia arriving in Nairobi  Mapia in the helicopter at the Nursery

Offloading Mapia  Offloading Mapia

Mapia still on a drip  Reversing Mapia up to his stockade

Ambo was in the next door stable so throughout the night he was able to provide the reassurance and comfort the newcomer needed.

Life saving fluids  Ambo in the next door stockade

Ambo showing concern for little Mapia  Touch and go for little Mapia

As the days passed he hovered close to death, collapsing regularly and requiring hasty response to counter each and every situation. But in time he began to feed well on not just his milk but also the freshly cut greens placed in his stable day and night, and we were witness to the revival of this lovely little elephant. He still looked worse for wear with curled ears and crinkled cracked skin, all remnants of his ordeal, but as the weeks passed he grew stronger, and was ready to join the others out in the forest.

Mapia folded ears  Mapia dusting himself

Mapia being cuddled by Malkia  Mapia first day in the forest

Mapia having his milk  Mapia and Ndotto

Since then we have been able to marvel in his transformation, and watch this little calf blossom into the elephant he once was. Very tragically his fate robbed him of his family, but he will eventually grow wild in Tsavo and in the fullness of time, who knows, he may well meet his family again. Tsavo has a population of some 12,500 elephants. It must be remembered that without the intensive care he received spanning many months he would not be with us today – so he was very fortunate to be spared and one of the lucky ones as the drought took its toll in 2017 with over 350 elephant dying in Tsavo alone.

Mapia looking well


Please see the resources above for more information on MAPIA

| View the Orphan History List Foster MAPIA | Print this Profile |

Share this:
Follow us:

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust   P.O. Box 15555 Nairobi Kenya

Copyright © 1999-2018, The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. All Rights Reserved. | Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy