Kenze's Story

The evening of 6th December, 2006, and a call from our Chyulu De-Snaring Team made our hearts sink, alerting us to the fact that another young orphaned elephant had been spotted by members of the Community abutting the forest wandering around entirely alone. It is a great tribute to the Community outreach work of our Chyulu De-Snaring Team that members of this previously very un-ele-friendly community took the trouble to walk a long distance to their Camp in the Chyulu Hills to report the presence of this orphan, rather than either just allowing it to die, or killing it, which is what would undoubtedly have previously been done.Right now, however, there was nothing we could do for he was extremely aggressive, and at two years old, armed with short tusks, even though weak, was still able to inflict serious injury should he succeed in pinning a Keeper against the bars of his Stockade. Clearly, this young newcomer, at this age, was yet another challenge, set to be a difficult customer, and the prognosis about being able to save his life was not encouraging.

Kenze's Story

Meanwhile, we all awaited the inevitable collapse, which happened at 5 p.m.. Immediately, the life saving drip was able to be inserted into an ear, the wound on his penis and belly inspected and cleaned and the ticks removed by an application of T-Tree and Front Line Spray. We suspect that the injury to the tip of his penis and belly had been inflicted by a small carnivore such as a mongoose or dog, when he was lying down, for had it been a hyaena, it would have been far more serious. As it was, it was not deep.

We were actually surprised to find him still with us in the morning, bottle after bottle of dextrose and Hartmans solution having flowed into his body throughout the night as he was attended by two skilled Keepers. He remained comatose and on the drip for the first half of the next morning, hovering precariously between life and death. However, he is obviously a survivor, who, having overcome all odds, was lifted to his feet at noon on the 8th, and wobbled with help into a far corner to lean against the bars of his Stockade. Still bent on attacking whoever approached him, he continued to resist milk for a further 48 hours, but devoured the fresh greens that were cut for him, avidly. It was, however, only milk that would save his life, so in the meantime Daphne prepared with SMA milk little balls of cooked oatmeal and desiccated coconut, which were stuffed into his mouth and swallowed whilst he was down.

Eventually, he decided to try milk from a bottle held by a Keeper protected by the Gate to his Stockade, and having tasted it, began to long for each feed, gulping it down rapidly, before trying to flatten the Keeper. Gradually, his milk ration, reinforced with oatmeal and coconut gruel was increased and whenever he lay down to sleep, without the strength to remain standing during the nights, the Keepers were able to clean his wounds and cover him with a blanket as protection against the night chill. After a full week, once he responded to the word “No” and refrained from pushing home any onslaught, he was allowed out one afternoon to join the other Nursery inmates, one full week after arrival. Immediately he gravitated to Lenana, the elephant next door to him during the nights, and he and Lenana, who is still something of a loner, still grief-stricken for her lost elephant loved ones, have formed a strong bond of friendship, giving each other comfort and companionship, feeding close together, but keeping slightly apart from all the others.

It was a miracle that Kenze survived to become the twelfth baby in the Nairobi Nursery. Great credit goes to the Keepers who diligently struggled so hard for his life and who succeeded in narrowly cheating the Angel of death. Though he remained weak and emaciated, he recovered rapidly, eager to fill his starved belly with milk; our Christmas miracle baby. Kenze still roams with the ex-orphan herd today, around the Ithumba area where he was reintroduced to the wild.

Adopt Kenze 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 Kenze 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

19 years old



Rescued date

6 December 2006

Rescue Location

Tsavo Ecosystem, Chyulu Hills

Date of Birth (approximate)

2 December 2004

Reason Orphaned


Age at Rescue

2 years old (approx)

Current Location

Living Wild

Kenze'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 Kenze the gift of life by adopting today.

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Kenze's latest photos

Kenze enjoying Lucerne

Kenze drinking water

Sattao browsing close to Kenze


Naseku, Kenze and Ndiwa drinking water

Kenze in the water

Sonje in the Kenze Hills

Quanza leading the Umani Herd to Kenze Hills