It makes sense that Mokogodo is our early Valentine — this enchanting little girl has been stealing hearts since she stepped foot in the Nursery. Mokogodo’s story with us began on 13th February 2023, in the heart of Laikipia.
The Mukogodo Forest is a land of rolling woodlands, frequented by elephants as they traverse from the bottom reaches of Samburu to the foothills of Mount Kenya. On the fringes of the forest, Samburu found a tiny calf, all on her own. There were no other elephants in the area, and based on her condition, it was clear that she was an orphan.
The hour was late, but such a young orphan needed urgent attention. Racing against the setting sun, KWS gave the greenlight and, together with the help of both Borana and Lewa Wildlife Conservancies, we mobilised a rescue. The calf was driven up to Borana, where a helicopter was waiting to scoop her up. She landed at the Nairobi Nursery just as dusk was beginning to settle, in the last possible window.
We named the newcomer Mokogodo, to forever connect her to the place of her rescue. By the time she arrived at the Nursery, all the other orphans were already tucked into their bedrooms for the evening. She was shown into her new lodgings, a cosy stable with Muridjo as her neighbour.
To everyone’s relief, an inspection of Mokogodo’s mouth revealed some teeth had already come through. Teething is fraught for any infant orphan and often leads to a loss in condition. While she was no means out of the woods, having some teeth upon arrival certainly helped Mokogodo get off on the right foot. She also took to some greens right away, though she also loves her milk bottles. Miraculously, Mokogodo didn't give us a day of trouble, despite her vulnerable age.
In many ways, Mokogodo’s story reminds us a lot of Lemeki’s. Like Lemeki, she sailed through where most other infant calves would struggle. She also has a larger-than-life personality — although, unlike Lemeki, she leans more sweet than rascal! Mokogodo is full of energy and fun, from sunup to sundown. Everyone who meets her, human and elephant alike, is completely charmed by her sunny personality.
Mokogodo’s Keepers report that she is an enchanting girl, very playful and very loving. A firm member of the ‘blanket babies,’ she has become best friends with a fellow new arrival. Kerrio quickly claimed her as one of her little girls, although all the older orphans are eager to spend time with her. Mokogodo’s nighttime neighbour, Muridjo, is a few months her senior and has become a wonderful pal.
Mokogodo also loves her Keepers. She paddles after them with great purpose, ears flapping enthusiastically. Although she is still too small to fully manage it herself, she adores dust bathing and closes her eyes in delight as the Keepers coat her body in red earth. When she is not playing (which is rare!), Mokogodo enjoys sucking her Keepers’ fingers or latching onto their green dust coats. Now, our little Valentine miracle has her whole future ahead of her.