During the morning of the 25th September, Head Elephant Keeper Benjamin, based at the Ithumba Elephant Rehabilitation Unit in Northern Tsavo East National Park, happened to be taking rocks by tractor to the Ithumba dam where the Trust has recently sunk another borehole to alleviate the ongoing dry season water crisis, which always presents us with a huge headache. Having reached the dam, he noticed that an elephant calf was hopelessly bogged in the black cotton clay of the dam’s receding water level.
The calf had obviously become stuck in the black cotton mud during the night, since it had not been there when Benjamin deposited another load of rocks the previous day.
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.
15 years old
25 September 2010
Tsavo Ecosystem, Tsavo East NP
Date of Birth (approximate)
9 September 2008
Stuck in mud
Age at Rescue
2 years old (approx)
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Monthly watercolour by Angela Sheldrick.
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On Tuesday 12th July 2022, Deputy Head Keeper Emmanuel was walking back from the Ithumba orphans’ midday mud bath. Suddenly, wild-living orphan Ithumbah appeared out of the bush and strode over to him — and by her side was a newborn baby girl! Emmanuel had seen Ithumbah at the stockades just the night before, heavily pregnant but with no sign of an imminent arrival. Ithumbah must have given birth in the early hours of the morning. Now she seemed keen to introduce her firstborn calf to the human family that raised her. We have named the baby, Iman. Read more
Iman and Ithumbah at the mud bath
Ithumbah and Iman
Ithumbah digging for minerals with little Iman
Ithumbah and Iman
Ithumbah with Iman and Kamok browsing
Ithumbah with Iman
Iman suckling from Ithumbah at the stockades