This elephant was orphaned whilst his family were migrating from Tsavo West National Park to Tsavo East in 1988, a journey that involved moving through the Taita Hills Sanctuary, and exposure to human presence on private ranchlands. During this process, the herd ran into a hail of gunfire from armed Somali poachers, who at that period of time, were involved in perpetrating the wholesale slaughter of elephants for their Ivory, an elephant holocaust that reduced the Tsavo ecosystem’s elephant population from 45,000 (utilizing a home range double the size of the Park, i.e. 16,000 square miles) to just 5 – 6,000 terrified and traumatised survivors. This terrible tragedy that overtook the elephants during 3 decades of rampant and uncontrolled poaching, was mirrored in the demeanor of the calf we named Dika. He became an orphan when just 3 months old, and arrived in the Nairobi Nursery more like a porcupine than an elephant, his skin pierced by countless protruding long Acacia thorns. This was indicative of the fact that the herd had been stampeded through an Acacia thicket, and he had obviously tried to follow his mother through this thorny barrier. She lay dead within this thicket, one of several elephants from that herd that died in a hail of bullets on that fateful day that left Dika an orphan.
Important Note: Thank you for adopting and being part of the SWT family, it is important to note that your donation will help any orphan in need. Our orphans will need more than one adoptive parent.
33 years old
15 October 1988
Tsavo Ecosystem, Taita Ranches
Date of Birth (approximate)
1 August 1988
Age at Rescue
2 months old (approx)
Personalised adoption certificate.
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Monthly water colour by Angela Sheldrick.
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Orphan baby Dika being given milk
Dika drinking water at the stockade
Dika approaching to join the others
Dika, Edie and a wild boy
Dika enjoys being with the youngsters
Dika enjoys feeding with the youngsters
Dika at the Voi Lodge waterhole
Dika spotted by the Voi unit