Happy First Birthday, Mwana!

Published on the 12th of March, 2024

Today is a very special day for our extended orphan family. Baby Mwana — Murera's miracle daughter — turns one!

One year ago today, a miracle unfolded at Umani Springs. In honour of Mwana's birthday, revisit the story of her birth — and if you haven't read it yet, you're in for a treat! Here is a brief excerpt:

We never dared hope that Murera could become a mother. She came to us a broken elephant, and the fact that she is alive today is a miracle in and of itself. But again, she defied the odds, and delivered a beautiful baby girl on 12th March 2023. We named her Mwana — ‘child’ in Swahili.

However, there was one twist to the story. While Murera was very attentive and loving, she wouldn't allow Mwana to nurse. To ensure that Mwana got the nutrients a newborn needs to survive, we felt it was time to intervene. The Keepers began hand-milking Murera, then using that milk to bottle feed her baby. In a staggering display of trust, Murera fully cooperated.

Day and night, our Keepers remained by Murera and Mwana’s sides, milking mum and ensuring baby’s belly remained full. It was a full-time, round-the-clock job. But then, on the 11th day, something clicked. Without preamble, Murera suddenly began allowing Mwana to nurse. From that moment onwards, mum has seamlessly breastfed her baby.

Mwana really is the child of the Umani herd. Given her compromised condition, Murera knows that she needs a bit extra help, and she willingly accepts it from her human-elephant family. Mwana is truly the most healthy, happy, and advanced baby elephant we have ever met — a real triumph.

There is so much more to this story. It's a feel-good reminder that miracles really do exist.

On one hand, we‘re marvelling at how quickly time flies. On the other, we can’t believe that we’ve only had twelve months of Mwana — she has well and truly taken the Kibwezi Forest by storm, and captured all our hearts in the process. We also must congratulate Mwana’s mother, Murera, on one year of motherhood. While she has lots of support, Mwana’s larger-than-life personality hasn’t exactly paved the way for a subdued entrée into this new chapter! It is such a pleasure and a privilege to watch this little family continue to blossom.

Mwana's Birth Story

Elephants constantly remind us that miracles are possible. Many thought Murera wouldn’t survive, but she proved them all wrong. Now, our Umani matriarch is embarking on the great new chapter of motherhood.
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