Early morning, on 10th September 2021, Makena arrived at the Ithumba Stockades with her fresh from the womb newborn baby by her side.
Makena, along with her ex orphan friends, had returned to Ithumba recently, having obviously made a conscious decision to position herself close to home to give birth to her first born. We have witnessed this time and again with our ex orphan mums, and never do we take these precious moments for granted. Such humbling displays of love and trust towards the men who have raised them brings us such joy. To be able to share this sort of intimacy with so many of our ex orphans now living wild lives, is a gift like no other.
On this day we were once again treated to this perfect surprise. With many of the ex orphans fussing around, there was an excited buzz in the air. Nannies Sites, Ishanga, Mwende (an ex orphan's baby herself, firstborn to Mulika) along with Mulika and Mkuu, Yatta and her offspring Yoyo and Yetu, Loijuk and Lili, Kinna and Kama, were all present sharing this new gift of life with their keepers at the Ithumba Stockades.
Makena was rescued as a newborn baby herself. She was less than a month old when rangers on Ol Ari Nyiro in North Western Laikipia heard her squeals from below their camp, before coming to her rescue. She was all alone, with no sign of her herd and we never did know the reasons behind her being separated from them. From that day, 20th September 2005, we became Makena’s surrogate family: Providing for her needs for three years at our Nairobi Nursery, before she moved to our Ithumba Reintegration Unit alongside Lenana and Chyulu in 2008. All three of these elephants are living wild, and as of today, all three are now mothers!
Lenana became a mum, to Lapa, one year ago, while Chyulu had her first calf Cheka in November 2020. Makena has played the role of nanny to both their babies, which will stand her in good stead now that she too joins her friends in motherhood.
Our keepers have chosen to name Makena’s beautiful baby girl, Mumo, meaning peace in the language of the local Kamba people. We look forward to collecting more photos and news of Mumo and Makena in the coming weeks, but for now we wanted you to be able to share in this celebration of life.