Loldaiga's Story

Fresh into the new year, yet another drought victim entered our midst. On 15th January 2023, we received a call about an orphaned elephant in the Lolldaiga Hills, north of Mount Kenya. This area had been badly affected by the drought. While scant rains in December offered some measure of relief, the landscape continued to suffer.

This calf had been observed on his own for about a week and was clearly struggling. At two years old, he was on the larger side, but still deeply vulnerable. It is possible that he lost his mother, either to the drought or interlinked human-wildlife conflict, or he became too weak to keep up with his herd and was abandoned. This is a story we have seen played out too many times over the past year, as the youngest elephants are often the first to fall during difficult times.

Loldaiga's Story

Fresh into the new year, yet another drought victim entered our midst. On 15th January 2023, we received a call about an orphaned elephant in the Lolldaiga Hills, north of Mount Kenya. This area had been badly affected by the drought. While scant rains in December offered some measure of relief, the landscape continued to suffer.

This calf had been observed on his own for about a week and was clearly struggling. At two years old, he was on the larger side, but still deeply vulnerable. It is possible that he lost his mother, either to the drought or interlinked human-wildlife conflict, or he became too weak to keep up with his herd and was abandoned. This is a story we have seen played out too many times over the past year, as the youngest elephants are often the first to fall during difficult times.

As we mobilised a rescue from Nairobi, the SWT/KWS Mount Kenya Mobile Vet Unit reported to the scene. It was a challenging operation. The calf was located a 30-minute drive from the nearest airstrip, and his size made mobility difficult. Given his compromised state, we didn’t want him to be recumbent for too long.

In the end, everything unfolded like clockwork. The ground team managed to secure the calf and arrived at the airstrip just as the plane was landing. Without wasting a moment, our Keepers disembarked and secured the young chap onboard. We named him Loldaiga, to forever connect him to his homeland. 

By late afternoon, Loldaiga had arrived in Nairobi. We had to tread carefully, giving him ample time to recover and become used to his new home. For several weeks, he recuperated inside the peace and security of his stockade. His presence garnered a lot of interest among the Nursery herd, who couldn’t wait to meet their new friend.

On 6th February, Loldaiga was finally ready to join the Nursery herd out in the forest. At noon, the Keepers shepherded the orphans up to his stockade, where they welcomed the young bull and escorted him out. For a long time, the others were too excited to browse, instead clustering around the newcomer. Loldaiga initially accepted their mothering, but then found it too overwhelming and ran off in search of a Keeper — with Kinyei, Kindani and Olorien in hot pursuit! In the weeks since, he has really settled into the routine and found his place among the Nursery herd.

Loldaiga’s Keepers report that he is a gentle, shy boy who is happiest when quietly sandwiched among fellow peace-loving orphans. At the moment, he is closest with Weka, Muwingu, Mageno, and Kitich. Muwingu, who is his nighttime neighbour, and Weka have become particularly good friends. Given his lonely beginnings, it is special to see this young bull so surrounded by love. 


Adopt Loldaiga for yourself or as a gift.

Adopt Loldaiga for yourself or as a gift.

Current Age

4 years old

Gender

Male

Rescued date

15 January 2023

Rescue Location

Laikipia, Lolldaiga Hills

Date of Birth (approximate)

19 July 2020

Reason Orphaned

Drought related

Age at Rescue

2 years old (approx)

Current Location

Nairobi Nursery

Loldaiga'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 Loldaiga the gift of life by adopting today.

Latest updates featuring Loldaiga

Our Growing Nursery Herd

Read more

The Rescue of Mushuru

Read more

The rescue of Loldaiga

Read more

Loldaiga's latest photos

Loldaiga and Kitich

Loldaiga in the mud

Loldaiga and Kitich playing

Sholumai having fun with Loldaiga and Olomunyak

Good friends Loldaiga and Mageno

Muwingu, Mushuru and Loldaiga

Sileita, Latika, Choka, Loldaiga, Sholumai

Olomunyak with Loldaiga and Kerrio