Ajok is a desert elephant, born in one of the harshest and most arid environments of Kenya, Turkana country, which is a virtual lava desert bordering Lake Turkana, formerly known as Lake Rudolf. It is the very hardy elephants that remain in this hostile environment, where life is governed by the survival of the fittest, and a heavy death toll is taken of the young due to environmental challenges, as well as having the misfortune of being born in an area where the long arm of the law extends no protection. The name of this calf, Ajok is the word for Hallo in the Turkana tribal dialect, and it is appropriate indeed, for tribesmen happened upon this tiny week old calf wandering along a dry riverbed, all alone. This was such an unusual event, and he was so vulnerable and tiny, and as such so trusting of the humans, that instead of killing him for food, they spared him and instead took him to the nearest Police Post. From there, and in a roundabout way, we were alerted of his presence, and hurriedly set about arranging an air rescue, knowing that he would not have survived the long car journey, having been without milk for several days, and also having been given cows milk, which is death to an elephant baby.
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30 years old
23 May 1990
South Turkana, Nasalot National Reserve
Date of Birth (approximate)
1 May 1990
Age at Rescue
3 weeks old (approx)
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Monthly water colour by Angela Sheldrick.
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