Chyulu's Story

During one of our Chyulu Anti-Poaching Team’s routine patrols, on 18th August 2006, in the Kibwezi forest, they came across a tiny elephant calf of about 5 months old stuck in a drying waterhole on the boundary with the community in an area called 'Kithasyo'. With the assistance of people from the local community, they managed to extract the calf. We chose to name the calf 'Chyulu' (Pronounced Chu-lou) since it is the first elephant rescued in the newly created Chyulu Hills National Park, created to try and preserve the indigenous forests that clothe the Chyulu Hills abutting Tsavo West National Park. The waterhole in question is often frequented by elephants, since it is the last to dry during the dry season making it a hot-spot for poaching, which is rife in the area. A female elephant was, in fact, found poached some 10days ago, and it is believed that this could be the mother of the calf.

The baby was easily secured, and although thin, was still quite strong. Since it was too late to organise an airlift to the Nairobi Nursery, the calf was driven to our Voi Stockades, in the nearby Tsavo East National Park, where she was given rehydration salts and milk, and the usual prophylactic antibiotic injection. He was kept safe and warm here, in the care of our Keepers, for the night. By the second milk feed, amazingly, she had calmed right down, realising that the humans that surrounded her now were not the same as the hostile community members that had killed her mother, but friends that offered her milk and protection.

Chyulu's Story

During one of our Chyulu Anti-Poaching Team’s routine patrols, on 18th August 2006, in the Kibwezi forest, they came across a tiny elephant calf of about 5 months old stuck in a drying waterhole on the boundary with the community in an area called 'Kithasyo'. With the assistance of people from the local community, they managed to extract the calf. We chose to name the calf 'Chyulu' (Pronounced Chu-lou) since it is the first elephant rescued in the newly created Chyulu Hills National Park, created to try and preserve the indigenous forests that clothe the Chyulu Hills abutting Tsavo West National Park. The waterhole in question is often frequented by elephants, since it is the last to dry during the dry season making it a hot-spot for poaching, which is rife in the area. A female elephant was, in fact, found poached some 10days ago, and it is believed that this could be the mother of the calf.

The baby was easily secured, and although thin, was still quite strong. Since it was too late to organise an airlift to the Nairobi Nursery, the calf was driven to our Voi Stockades, in the nearby Tsavo East National Park, where she was given rehydration salts and milk, and the usual prophylactic antibiotic injection. He was kept safe and warm here, in the care of our Keepers, for the night. By the second milk feed, amazingly, she had calmed right down, realising that the humans that surrounded her now were not the same as the hostile community members that had killed her mother, but friends that offered her milk and protection.

By the next morning she was suckling the hands of the Keepers and following them around as though she had been with them for weeks! The plane arrived at the National Park strip at noon, and the calf was secured with straps and loaded for the journey, lying on the rescue tarpaulin. She arrived at the Nairobi Nursery in the evening, and was immediately welcomed with great excitement and joy by the Nursery females, namely Loijuk, Lualeni and Makena, whom we thought might be a little jealous of the tiny newcomer, but instead displayed all the motherly instincts for which female elephants are known.

The very next morning, little Chyulu was out and about with all the others, and even enjoyed the mud bath, paying no attention to the hordes of visitors who come on a daily basis at that hour to see the Nursery babies. Although the Keepers tried to encourage her not to head to the mud wallow - wanting her to have more time to acclimatise to her new surroundings - she insisted upon doing so, delighting all the onlookers, and amazing her Keepers.

Little Chyulu has been one of the smoothest rescues the Trust has achieved, and is basking in the undivided attention of Loijuk, who adores her, and also both Lualeni and Makena. We welcome little Chyulu, who is a very spirited baby, and also very astute.

Adopt Chyulu for yourself or as a gift.

Important Note: Thank you for considering an adoption. Each orphan needs more than one foster parent: your adoption donation will be processed by the SWT UK and Kenya to help all the orphans in our care.

Adopt Chyulu for yourself or as a gift.

Important Note: Thank you for considering an adoption. Each orphan needs more than one foster parent: your adoption donation will be processed by the SWT UK and Kenya to help all the orphans in our care.

Current Age

17 years old

Gender

Female

Rescued date

18 August 2006

Rescue Location

Tsavo Ecosystem, Chyulu Hills

Date of Birth (approximate)

5 May 2006

Reason Orphaned

Poaching

Age at Rescue

3 months old (approx)

Current Location

Living Wild

Chyulu's featured photos

Our digital adoption programme includes the following:

Personalised adoption certificate.

Monthly email update on your orphan and the project.

Monthly watercolour by Angela Sheldrick.

Access to special content; latest Keepers' Diaries, videos and photos

Give Chyulu the gift of life by adopting today.

Chyulu's Calves

Meet Chyulu's wild born offspring.

Cheka

Male

On the morning of 18th December 2020 we caught our first glimpse of the latest baby to be born to one of our now wild-living orphans, when 14-year-old Chyulu proudly brought her new calf, a little bull, to meet her human family in Ithumba, Tsavo East . Flanked by many attentive nannies, themselves all ex orphans now living wild, this little one has been named Cheka, which means ‘laugh’ in Swahili. An apt name given the fanfare of joy and excitement surrounding the Ithumba stockades when we, and the dependent orphans in our care, met him for the first time.

Charli

Male

Chyulu's second baby was special, in that he was a complete surprise! Although she has been a regular visitor to Ithumba this year, we never suspected she was pregnant. We were shocked and delighted when she appeared on 29th November 2023 with a brand new little boy in tow. Read more.

Latest updates featuring Chyulu

Chyulu's Surprise Baby, Charli

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A New Home for Naromoru, A Truant Bull

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Bondeni, Kindani, and Kinyei Graduate

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Chyulu's latest photos

Chyulu leading her family

Baby Siku, Chyulu and little Charli

Chyulu nursing Charli

Chyulu and Cheka leaving the mud bath

Chyulu

Chyulu and Cheka

Cheka and Chyulu

Chyulu, Cheka and Roho