Olare Gives Birth to Her First Baby, Ola

Published on the 1st of December, 2023

It has been a season of happy arrivals in Ithumba! Ex-orphan Olare just became a first-time mother, giving birth to a beautiful baby girl, who we have named Ola.

Olare proudly debuting baby Ola

The rains in Ithumba have been bountiful the past few weeks. As is customary, this sends the ex-orphans and wild elephants far and wide, as they enjoy the bounty of food to be had. Thus, we were a bit surprised when Olare arrived at the stockades on the morning of Tuesday, 28th November. She was joined by fellow ex-orphans Yatta, Sunyei, Loijuk, Tumaren, Naserian, and their respective babies.

Despite being a first-time mum, Olare is a pro

Our surprise turned to delight when we realised the reason for her visit: Olare had finally given birth! She proudly shepherded her daughter up to the stockade area, introducing her to the men who raised her. Baby Ola is round-cheeked and bright-eyed — a picture of pint-sized elephant health. We estimate that she had been born a week prior.

Scenes from Olare's tragic rescue, back in 2009

This is a very special moment for Olare, who stands out as one of our most tragic rescues. Back in 2009, tourists in the Mara reported a collapsed female elephant who had an infant calf by her side. Our SWT/KWS Mara Mobile Vet Unit arrived to a terrible scene: The mother’s femur had been shattered, likely by a bullet, leaving her paralysed. Her terrified baby clung to her side, eyes wide in fear. The team had no choice but to end the female’s suffering and bring her little calf — who we named Olare — to the Nursery. There was not a dry eye on the scene that day.

Olare during her early days at the Nursery

Despite the heartbreak she faced, Olare never let her past define her. She has an enormous heart and has always been an exceptional nanny, first at the Nursery, then at our Ithumba Reintegration Unit, and later to her friends’ wild-born babies.

Olare has always been a wonderful nanny (2021, with Nasalot's baby, Noah)

Over the past 22 months, we have watched Olare’s belly slowly get rounder. It was extra touching that this happened in tandem with one of her best friends, Tumaren, who was rescued just a few days prior to her. Tumaren debuted her first baby, a little boy named Tembo, on 24th October. Just a month later, Olare gave birth to a daughter of her own. Now, these brave girls will experience the journey of motherhood step-in-step.

Now, the new mum is giving Naleku (right) the same opportunity

There also seems to be a poignant passing of the torch: When she visits the Ithumba orphan herd, Olare has been inviting little Naleku to look after Ola. This is a real privilege, as Naleku is just four years old and still dependent. Her rescue story mirrors Olare’s, in that she was also found standing vigil by her mother’s body. Like Olare, she has always been an excellent and very eager nanny. It’s lovely to see the new mother giving Naleku such a plum opportunity.

Meet Our Wild-Born Babies

Ola is the 57th known calf born to an orphan we rescued, raised, and reintegrated back into the wild. These wild-born babies are the next generation of Kenya's elephants — and they are here today because we were able to save their mothers all those years ago.
Meet the Babies

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