12th May 2004, in the late afternoon, we received a message from Save the Elephants in Samburu National Reserve alerting us to the fact that what was obviously an orphaned elephant calf had been seen trailing some wild herds, and suffering continuous rejection by them. The calf was estimated to be between 4 and 6 months old and, we were told, was in the process of being captured. It had been seen trying to cross the Uaso Nyiro river along with wild elephants, but was constantly pushed under water by one herd member.When the rescue plane landed in Samburu, the calf had not yet been able to be captured and was still trailing wild herds, of which there were many in the area. Furthermore, another BBC Film crew had been filming the rejection of this orphan by the wild elephants, (something that puzzles us about the Samburu elephants since those of Tsavo seem bent on actually hijacking rather than rejecting calves, as is illustrated by the story of orphan “Irima”! ) Following frantic phone negotiations with the Charter Company, it was agreed that the plane and the Rescue Team could overnight in Samburu as best they could, and now that a Vet was in-situ, an attempt would be made to capture the calf during the night. It was feared that were it left overnight, it may not survive the hyenas.
18 years old
12 May 2004
Samburu, Samburu National Reserve
Date of Birth (approximate)
1 January 2004
Age at Rescue
4 months 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
After an absence of six months, our Ithumba Keepers awoke on 28th October 2021 to find Naserian waiting by the stockades, with a healthy infant calf tucked by her side. Ex-orphans Wendi and Sunyei, and their wild-born daughters, Wema, Wiva, and Siku, rounded out the entourage. They had clearly returned to Ithumba with the express purpose of introducing us to Naserian’s newborn, who was just a few days old. We estimate she was born on 23rd October.
We have named Naserian's little girl Njema, which means 'good' in Swahili. Read more
Naserian, Njema and Olare
Naserian, Njema, Olare, and Saba at the mud bath
Sunyei, Saba, Njema and Naserian
Naserian with her new baby and Wiva
Ishanga and Naserian browsing
Lualeni, Lulul and Naserian at the water trough
Naserian, Sidai and Chyulu
Makena Tusuja and Naserian