In North Western Laikipia, on the shoulder of the rift over looking Lake Baringo lies a 100,000 acre ranch called Ol Ari Nyiro. The North Western boundary is home to the Pokot tribe, an unusual mixture of pastoralist, cultivator and hunter gatherer. It was close to this North Western Boundary at 7.30am on 20th September 2005 that the Kukwa patrol group on Ol Ari Nyiro heard the squeals of a baby elephant below their base near Kudu Dam. On closer inspection they discovered a tiny calf, confused, alone and abandoned with no elephants to be seen any where in the area. The baby, desperate for company, followed them back to their camp, and from there the rangers contacted Sean Outram who works on the ranch and told him about their tiny little orphan. Sean drove to the camp and collected the calf, and loaded her in the back of his vehicle, contacted the Trust in Nairobi, and headed to the closest airstrip to wait for the rescue aircraft.
16 years old
20 September 2005
Laikipia, Ol Ari Nyiro Conservancy
Date of Birth (approximate)
12 August 2005
Man-made cause for separation
Age at Rescue
1 month old (approx)
Personalised adoption certificate.
Monthly email update on your orphan and the project.
Monthly water colour by Angela Sheldrick.
Access to special content; latest Keepers' Diaries, videos and photos
On Friday 10th September 2021 Makena arrived at the Ithumba Stockades with a newborn baby by her feet! Makena, along with her ex orphan friends, had returned to Ithumba recently, having obviously made a conscious decision to position herself close to home to give birth to her firstborn.
Makena and her baby remained in our orbit for those first days and our Keepers named the calf, Mumo, which means peace in the language of the local Kamba people. Makena had always shown great aptitude as a nanny and she remained in the Ithumba area after the birth, drawing on her support system of sisters like any first-time elephant mum. Then, quite suddenly they ventured off into the Tsavo wilderness and did not return for three days. When they reappeared, it was clear the excursion had taken its toll on Mumo who was gaunt, sunburnt and visibly exhausted.
Tragically, despite everyone's best efforts, Mumo collapsed at her mother's feet on Monday 20th September 2021, and while Makena and Ishanga tried to rouse her, Mumo had taken her last breath. A documented account of Mumo's final days can be found here. For all the miracles Mother Nature presents us with, the wild world can also be a heartbreaking place.
Makena with her calf Mumo
Makena and Ishanga
Nabulu sniffing Makena
Makena with the orpahns
Makena following a wild bull