The following is information on the Elephant Orphan named: MERRU 

Name Gender Date Born Location Found Age on Arrival Comments Reason for being Orphaned
 MERRU  Male  Tuesday, December 5, 2017 Imenti Forest; Meru Region  9 Months  Found in a deep quarry with no other elephants around and in distress  Human / Wildlife Conflict 

Latest Updates on MERRU:

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

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

10/30/2018 - This morning was misty and then it started to drizzle. By mid-morning it was full on raining. Most of the babies were enjoying the rain but a few of them decided to take cover under some trees. Dololo, Mukkoka and Merru are not very strong enough to withstand the bad weather so they were led back to their rooms and provided with greens to browse on. Kiko decided to make his own way back to the stockades as well and stand in his own room too! The rainy weather however is certainly Maxwell the rhinos favourite and he was rolling on the heaps of soil in his stockade and running up and down, his whole body caked in mud. Kiasa was in a very calm mood again today, and remained sandwiched between Ndiwa and Malkia. Sattao and his good friend Musiara were enjoying the body warmth of the Nursery matriarch Tagwa, who took cover from the rain beneath some trees. The chilly and rainy weather seemed not to bother the two good friends and age-mates Ambo and Jotto however, and they braved the rain whilst playing in a ‘push and pull’ fight. Ambo was a bit more boisterous in the game, compared to Jotto who known to be more polite, earning him the title of ‘little mellow boy’ from the Keepers.

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

 Sweet Merru Merru and Malkia out in the forest
Sweet Merru
photo taken on 9/10/2018
Merru and Malkia out in the forest
photo taken on 9/3/2018


On the 1st of September we received a call from KWS regarding an elephant calf in trouble in Meru town. The baby had fallen into a deep quarry situated on the edge of the Imenti forest, but the moment he was discovered a hostile community set upon him, determined to kill and feast on the calf. Very fortunately there were sympathetic people in their midst who got word to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Rangers in time and very quickly they responded and rushed to the site to rescue the baby, and keep him safe overnight. Circumstances were challenging and between the community and the Rangers they tethered his feet to two big logs ensuring he could not escape. He remained like this overnight.

Reports were sent to The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) by KWS in the early morning and Angela was able to communicate with the KWS county Warden and learn more about the circumstances surrounding the calf’s plight. There were many logistical challenges given his location with the closest airstrip being some distance away, and access to a KWS vehicle was not possible at the time. It was therefore arranged, once GPS coordinates were provided, for the DSWT helicopter to fly directly to the site on the outskirts of Meru town with one of the Trust’s more experienced elephant Keepers on board, together with all the equipment required to feed the baby, and medicate and restrain the calf for flight.

Keepers arriving to rescue Merru  Merru tied to the logs

Merru seeking comfort from the DSWT Keeper  Merru being prepared for flight

Carrying little Merru to the DSWT helicopter

The location where the elephant was being held was an open patch of bare land on the outskirts of the quarry, abutting the remnant Imenti forest that spills east of Mount Kenya National Park. On arrival the team were faced with a baby elephant that cut a tragic figure, having been battered and beaten by a hostile crowd before being rescued, he stood tethered to huge logs and remained with little fight left in him. Lying him down onto the mattress was met with screams of discomfort from the obvious bruising all over his body. Immediately a tranquilizer and anti-inflammatory was administered to take the edge off proceedings and the team set about preparing him for the flight after he fed on a bottle of rehydration fluids. The KWS Rangers did an excellent job in very challenging circumstances keeping the crowd under control, as by now the interest in both the helicopter and the elephant had grown to fever pitch. All the circumstances surrounding this rescue were extremely challenging for Andy Payne, the DSWT helicopter pilot, who directed proceedings with the assistance of the KWS Rangers who worked hard to keep everyone calm and a safe distance from the aircraft and the elephant calf.Eventually by 3.00pm the helicopter lifted off the ground and then had to navigate dramatic weather between Meru, around Mount Kenya, and then onto Nairobi, a flight of one hour.

Meru landing in Nairobi with the DSWT helicopter  Offloading Merru at the Nairobi Nursery

Waiting at the Nursery were the Keepers with all the equipment required to facilitate a quick turn around and to immediately get the baby on a drip to help his energy levels. The calf was ushered into a comfortable stockade, surrounded by the calming influence of the other orphans when they returned in the evening. The stark contrast between the two environments could be felt in the elephant baby's mood, as after the drips he immediately appeared comfortable and much calmer, having fed well on milk and settled in his warm wooden stable with plenty of fresh cut hay.

Merru in the Nairobi Nursery  Merru following a milk bottle

After what must have been an incredibly terrifying ordeal for him, he already sensed he was around caring sympathetic friends, but the scars both physical and mental remained, because for the next week he never would sleep, instead just walking around in tight circles throughout the night, turning only to the left. With the potential of swelling on the brain due to all that befell him, it was difficult to know the exact reason behind this behavior. We persevered in the hope that tender loving care, time and decent nourishment would set him in good stead. We had a specialist come in to check his eyes to see if all was well with them, and were assured his eyes were fine. Angela arranged for him to immediately join the other orphans out in the forest the next day, and he was able to walk straight with them for extended periods of time, comforted by their attentive presence enormously.

Merru and Malkia out in the forest  Merru with Sagala

Merru with Malima  Malkia, Kuishi, Tagwa and Malima with the new baby

Merru with the other orphans  Merru walking with the Keepers

Nevertheless he would still stop intermittently and begin walking in circles. Each day that passes this behavior reduces. This is not the first time we have seen this, and thankfully in the past the previous cases have corrected in time as well. We have called the baby bull elephant, estimated to be approximately 9 months old, Merru - the name of the area he was rescued from with a slight tweak to the spelling.

Sweet Merru


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