Dika's Story

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.

Dika's Story

Adopt Dika for yourself or as a gift.

Adopt Dika for yourself or as a gift.

Current Age

35 years old



Rescued date

15 October 1988

Rescue Location

Tsavo Ecosystem, Taita Ranches

Date of Birth (approximate)

1 August 1988

Reason Orphaned


Age at Rescue

2 months old (approx)

Current Location

Living Wild

Dika'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 Dika the gift of life by adopting today.

Latest updates featuring Dika

The Rescue of Sagala

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The rescue of Malkia

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A THIRSTY LAND - Tsavo's Drought

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Dika's latest photos

Orphan baby Dika being given milk

Dika drinking water at the stockade

Dika enjoys feeding with the youngsters

Dika approaching to join the others

Dika, Edie and a wild boy

Dika enjoys being with the youngsters

Dika at the Voi Lodge waterhole

Dika spotted by the Voi unit