Farewell to Lorigon

Published on the 30th of June, 2022

With deep sadness, we must share the news that our sweet Lorigon has passed away. He arrived at the Nursery in very poor condition, all parchment skin and jutting bones. Despite being very weak and emaciated, he had a good appetite. We knew to take it day by day, as one must with severe drought victims, but we were very heartened by his progress.

In recent weeks, however, Lorigon’s health took a downward turn. He became very listless and, despite endless encouragement from the Keepers, stopped eating greens. His blood works were alarming and it was clear he was fighting a blood parasite with plummeting RBC counts and Platelet count. Despite treatment he didn’t seem to respond positively and began the ominous collapsing requiring drips to resurrect him. We tried everything — plying him with greens and nutritious smoothies, even administering a blood transfusion to increase his platelet counts — but little Lorigon continued to slip away. He passed peacefully in the early hours of 27th June 2022, surrounded by his Keepers. Just like the vet said, this is a tragically common outcome for drought victims. The conditions Lorigon endured before his rescue left his immune system irredeemably compromised.

While our time with Lorigon was far too short, we will always treasure the four months we had together. He was quite a shy elephant and preferred to be a spectator, quietly observing the others get up to their rowdy antics. He quickly struck up a friendship with Tingai and Lodo, two young bulls who shared his reserved nature. In fact, for being an introvert, Lorigon had quite a crew of admirers. Along with Tingai and Lodo, he could usually be found with Mukutan, Choka, and our resident ‘tough girls,’ Olorien and Suguroi, who always looked out for him. Lorigon spent a long time on his own before he was rescued, so it makes us very happy to know that his final months were spent among friends.

We will never know precisely how Lorigon came to be orphaned, but the drought in the north most definitely played a role. He was found in an area where the bodies of a couple of lactating elephants had been found, either victims of drought or human-wildlife conflict. Given the circumstances, we can safely assume that one of these females was Lorigon’s mum.

Lorigon was a brave little bull and did not take his fate lying down. It took several days for Samburu Trust scouts to track Lorigon down, as the little calf tried to fend for himself in the wilds. However, he could only survive without his mother’s milk for so long, and they eventually found him ebbing away beneath an acacia tree. For several months, we thought Lorigon’s story would end differently, but as it tragically turned out, the drought weakened him to the point where other contributing factors were able to take hold.

However, we can say with absolute certainty that Lorigon’s last chapter was a happy one. He spent the past four and a half months loved and supported, as every baby elephant deserves to be. He began and ended each day surrounded by his human-elephant family, tucked into a warm stockade with a belly full of milk. While his story ended far too soon, Lorigon is now reunited with his mother and all the other greats who left us before their time. We can take comfort in that.

We have transferred your adoption over to Tingai, who was Lorigon’s kindred spirit and best friend. Like Lorigon, Tingai hails from the north of Kenya and is 23 months old. He too survived a scary spell on his own after his mother was killed, although he is now thriving at the Nursery. We are very grateful for your support and hope you enjoy being part of this brave young bull’s story. Of course, if there is an orphan you would prefer to transfer your adoption to, please let us know by responding to this email.