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

Name Gender Date Born Location Found Age on Arrival Comments Reason for being Orphaned
 TAITA  Male  February 2003 Taita Hills sanctuary  9 Months  Fell into a hotel septic tank and rescued by a Trust de-snaring team  Man Made Cause for Separation 

Latest Updates on TAITA:

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

1/26/2018 - Nasalot, baby Nusu, Meibai, Kilaguni, Chaimu together with Olare’s group brought Laragai and her group to the stockade in morning where they teamed up with the juniors to feed on the lucerne. Galla left the stockade with a branch in his mouth that he continued to chew as he waited for the keepers to provide the lucerne for them.

Shortly after the orphans had left for browsing, the senior Ex Orphans led by Yatta showed up at the stockade. Tomboi, the fifteen year old boy had an arrow injury at the right upper side of the back hip. The injury looked fresh, about two days old. Tomboi is one of the Ithumba old boys and came to Ithumba 18th June 2004 in the company of others including Wendi, Taita, Napasha. Treatment for Tomboi was organised by Nairobi HQ and the vet arrived in the evening. Tomboi was successfully treated and rejoined his friends after his ordeal. Nothing was found in the wound and it was suspected that Tomboi rubbed against a tree and the arrow came off.

Galla settled to browse with Dupotto and they shared stories of how life is treating them at Ithumba given that now it is the dry season and they would be forced to walk long distances in search of better browse. Dupotto agreed that life would be tough but to her it would not be worse than the one that she experienced in May last year when she went off wandering with Karisa and Kelelari before she was found and brought back to the safety of the stockade. She told Galla that now she has no intention of repeating the same mistake and she would wait until she is capable of dealing with life in the wild before she would try that again. Pare settled to browse with Wanjala and the story was the same about the drought. Pare wanted to know from Wanjala how to cope with the dry season since Wanjala has been at Ithumba for longer than him. The two boys played and tussled with each other. The senior Ex Orphans briefly joined the juniors at mud bath. In the afternoon, Kilaguni spent the remaining part of the day with the juniors and in the evening escorted them back to the stockade.

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

 Taita behind Olmalo in the foreground Taita
Taita behind Olmalo in the foreground
photo taken on 10/19/2004
photo taken on 3/19/2004


On the 1st October 2003, we welcomed another tragic orphan into the Nairobi Nursery, who was the subject of another dramatic rescue, and a tragedy that should not have been. The calf’s origin is the Hilton Hotel’s Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, a small patch of private land sandwiched between Tsavo West’s National Park’s Southern boundary and the densely populated Taita Hills. The Sanctuary boasts two lodges, one named Taita Hills Lodge modelled on a German Fort to commemorate the fighting that took place in this area during the First World War between the British and the Germans, and the other a Lodge built on stilts overlooking a waterhole and named Salt Lick Lodge.

Taita's dramatic rescue, he had the tread water with only his spine and trunk visible  Taita slipped through this tiny hole into the septic tank

Little “Taita”, as the calf has been named, was orphaned at Salt Lick Lodge, when somehow he fell clean through a rusted manhole cover into a septic tank. How he managed to fit through such a small hole still mystifies us, but he did, and his rescue is related in graphic detail by the Trust’s dedicated team who must be highly commended for saving this elephant baby’s life under very difficult circumstances. The rescue team was headed by our very resourceful Voi De-Snaring Team Leader Isaac Maina accompanied by Joseph Sauni who is in charge of the Tsavo Orphans aided by some of our Tsavo Elephant Keepers and personnel from the Salt Lick Lodge.

With the help of the hotel staff a hole was hacked through the wall of the septic tank in order to pull the calf out  With great difficulty the exhausted calf is pulled through the hole

"At around 11 a.m. we received a call from Tsavo East Headquarters that a young elephant had fallen into a septic tank at Salt Lick Lodge. It was reported that the mother of the calf was nowhere in sight and that the calf was of tender age.

We hurriedly packed our Pickup Truck with the rescue paraphernalia which included rehydration salts, water, milk, ropes etc, and accompanied by a group of Keepers, we headed to the place, a journey that took us l hour and 20 minutes. There we found the Salt Lick Lodge personnel busy digging an exit hole through the side of the concrete tank.

Our team wait for the aircraft and ensure the calf has some milk  Taita is loaded onto the aircraft and flow to the Nairobi Nursery

Peeping from the top of the tank, we could just see the tip of a floating trunk and a small portion of the calf’s back. The rest of the body was submerged. The tank was about 20 ft long x 12 ft. wide and l0 ft. deep, with the water resting at 7 ft. This meant that the calf could not touch the bottom, nor reach the top, so in order to remain alive, it had to keep swimming with nothing to hold on to, unable to rest. (It had obviously been like this for many hours, likely to have fallen in sometime during the night).

It was difficult for us to judge the age of the calf, the only clue being the small size of the manhole through which it had fallen, implying that it must be small. Once the side of the concrete tank had been breached, we could reach the exhausted calf who was very fatigued but who was able to hold onto a hand or the rope we offered. This made our work easier, and after some difficulty, we were able to secure the rope around its girth, and with the help of the Lodge personnel, managed to haul it out. We could now see that the calf was about 9 months of age, and a bull, but once it was free, the lodge personnel took to their heels, expecting trouble! However, it was so weak that it put up little resistance, and we were easily able to restrain it. Within 3 minutes he readily accepted a bottle of milk and with the help of the lodge personnel, who returned once they could see that the calf was not aggressive, we managed to load him into the back of the pickup truck and drive the 10 kms. to the nearest Airfield, having alerted the Trust HQ in Nairobi National Park to the fact that an aircraft was needed to take the calf to the Nairobi Nursery”.

There were two choices for a name – “Chumvi” (the Swahili word for salt, but which is rather too similar to our “Chuma”, or “Taita”. Whilst we in Nairobi awaited the arrival of the calf, we and the Keepers decided on “Taita”. The little bull was not tranquilized for the flight, but lay with legs loosely tied on a mattress. However, by the time he arrived in Nairobi, he had recovered his strength, and was extremely aggressive, charging everyone that came in sight, although he took milk and rehydration readily when offered. Because it was difficult to try and calm him in the confined space of a stable, and bearing in mind that elephants suffer from claustrophia in small confined places, the next morning we decided to try and move him into one of the larger Rhino Stockades where there was more room for the Keepers to manoeuvre and take evasive action when needed! In order to do this, he needed some sedation to make him drowsy enough to be able to push along without fear of him breaking loose, and once safely inside the Stockade formerly occupied by Morani, he slept for several hours, which was much needed rest after such a grueling and traumatic time. For the next two days, with gentle talking and two Keepers with him, offering him greens and milk, he gradually became less aggressive and tense, and enjoyed being introduced to the other six Nursery inmates through the bars of the Entrance Gate. As always, this worked like magic, and on the third morning, little “Taita” was allowed out to join the other Nursery babies, going off happily as a mini herd into the Nairobi Park forest with their Keepers.

Taita is welcomed into the nursery fold by Sunyei and Selengai

Having had the example of Seraa, who, like this calf, was almost drowned before rescue, we anticipated problems such as pneumonia, plus of course, stomach disorders due to the unhygienic conditions to which he has been subjected. Elephants cannot cough, so the only indication of lung problems is a wet trunk, but watched for this and anticipated difficulties ahead. Little Taita certainly had spirit however, and the determination to make it. With a great deal of diligence and above all, tender loving care and the input of the other Nursery inmates, Tiata pulled through and regained all of his strength and energy.

Taita behind Olmalo in the foreground  Taita in the center

Taita did extremely well at the Nursery and was one of the first orphans to move to the new Ithumba Unit in 2004. We still have the fortune of seeing this grand bull from time to time, as he is sometimes spotted by the Keepers on his own, with Yatta and Wendi's herd, or sometimes with ex-orphan bull Tomboi as well.    

Please see the resources above for more information on TAITA

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