Ilingwezi's Story

A female calf estimated to have been born in April 1999, this tiny female was only 2 weeks old when she was orphaned.She comes from the Il Ngwezi Group Ranch in Laikipia district, Northern Kenya, an area belonging to the Samburu tribe who have become conservation conscious and protect their wildlife for the benefit of visitors to their beautiful little self catering Lodge, which is a popular tourist destination. Revenue derived from tourism to the area benefits the community directly. Ilingwezi was rescued by the tribesmen, who herd an elephant commotion during the night and went out the next day to investigate. They found this tiny calf in a deep erosion gulley, signs of the other elephants' struggle to free her during the night very evident. She was unharmed, and flown to Nairobi that afternoon, arriving in good condition, one of the lucky few who has never needed the attentions of a Vet.

Ilingwezi's Story

The Il Ngwezi Group Ranch tribesmen were concerned about the future of "their" little elephant, so in the interests of public relations, they were flown to Nairobi to satisfy themselves that she was in good hands. They arrived, some dressed in tribal regalia, and spent the day with the Nursery elephants, thoroughly enjoying the experience. Daphne Sheldrick promised them that when their elephant left the Nursery to join the older orphans in Tsavo, they would be taken there to see her again. This promise was fulfilled in February 2001 when the man who actually rescued Ilingwezi, plus the Chief and Elders of the tribe joined Kenya Wildlife Service dignitaries and a Minister in the Office of the President to spend time with all the Tsavo orphans. Surrounded by about 25 orphaned elephants of all sizes, it was an experience none of them will ever forget, particularly as one of our Big Boys, Dika, now independent, turned up unexpectedly, and greeted the people gently, towering over them.

Adopt Ilingwezi for yourself or as a gift.

Adopt Ilingwezi for yourself or as a gift.

Current Age

25 years old



Rescued date

30 April 1999

Rescue Location

Laikipia, Il Ngwesi Group Ranch

Date of Birth (approximate)

1 April 1999

Reason Orphaned

Found in erosion gulley

Age at Rescue

0 months old (approx)

Current Location

Living Wild

Ilingwezi'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 Ilingwezi the gift of life by adopting today.

Latest updates featuring Ilingwezi

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Female Orphans and their Suitors

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Ilingwezi's latest photos

Ilingwezi browsing in a field




Ilingwezi enjoys a bath


Ilingwezi & Emily

Ilingwezi at mudbath