Ngilai's Story

On the 8th of March Angela and Robert received reports from KWS about the plight of a little elephant who was discovered fallen down a well within Molore Lorach, Ngilai area. The community first found him there on the 6th of March when approaching the well to water their livestock. They left and returned the following day thinking that he might have managed to escape and be reunited with his natal herd, but too fearful to attempt to extract him. On their return on the 7th of March the stranded, exhausted and now injured calf remained stricken in the well. His desperate ongoing attempts to free himself left him with busies and a rubbed raw back from struggling against the jagged well sides.

Ngilai's Story

It was at this point the community reported the matter to the Namunyak Conservation Ranger post based at Kitich camp who informed the KWS personnel based at Wamba. A team was sent to the scene and the calf was finally extracted late afternoon of the 8th, too late to mobilize a rescue plane from Nairobi in time. By this time he had remained submerged in the well for approximately 48 hours. KWS officers and rangers were briefed by DSWT how to handle the calf and were urged to refrain from feeding him any milk, as the wrong milk is more harmful than helpful in these situations. The calf remained with company all night safely wrapped with a blanket and given water and rehydration salts.

We estimate him to have been approximately just three weeks old on arrival as he is still without teeth. The DSWT rescue team left at dawn but the challenge of Nairobi traffic delayed things and it was not until 8.00am that they were able to take off from Nairobi's Wilson airport. They arrived at Wamba Airstrip where the tiny calf waited along with many interested bystanders. With the help of KWS he was loaded without delay and placed on I.V. fluids for the duration of the flight. He arrived at the Nursery exhausted but took his milk bottle of formula milk eagerly. His bruises and wounds were dressed and he was soon introduced to his stable neighbours, Hamsini and further along little Ndotto. The knowledge that he was amidst elephant company settled him and he relaxed enough to collapse and sleep.He was by this time desperate for milk having been without food for two full days.
The next day his was very much part of the tiny herd, with Ndotto, Hamsini and Lasayen as company. He soon became completely hooked on his Keepers, but given his fraught beginning and the fact that he still had the teething process to navigate we have been extremely conservative about placing him on the fostering program, waiting for him to fully heal, and gain strength and sprout his much anticipated teeth first.
Our little Ngilai has had some wonderful friends along the way who have been instrumental in his healing and growing stronger, Mwashoti being one of them. For months the two would remain together while the others would attend the visiting hour as neither were strong enough to join the fray, Mwashoti with his almost severed foot from a cable snare, and Ngilai with his very painful back wounds. The two became inseparable with Mwashoti allowing Ngilai the luxury of suckling his ears for hours. Then older Elkerama joined our midst and Ngilai developed a complete hero worship on this older bull. Elkerama responded by mentoring his tiny shadow, taking him away from the group sometimes for mud wallows in the bush, making sure his little friend was coated properly in mud, and dusting him down with red earth later. Ngilai is doing extremely well given how traumatic his beginning with us was, and is now a cosseted member of our Nursery herd.

Adopt Ngilai for yourself or as a gift.

Important Note: Thank you for adopting and being part of the SWT family, it is important to note that your donation will help any orphan in need. Our orphans will need more than one adoptive parent.

Adopt Ngilai for yourself or as a gift.

Important Note: Thank you for adopting and being part of the SWT family, it is important to note that your donation will help any orphan in need. Our orphans will need more than one adoptive parent.

Current Age

5 years old



Rescued date

9 March 2015

Rescue Location

Samburu, Namunyak Conservancy

Date of Birth (approximate)

16 February 2015

Reason Orphaned

Trapped in a well

Age at Rescue

3 weeks old (approx)

Current Location

Voi Reintegration Unit

Ngilai's featured photos

Our digital adoption programme includes the following:

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

Give Ngilai the gift of life by adopting today.

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Ngilai's latest photos

Ngilai sparring with Emoli

Ndotto trying to engage Ngilai

Ngilai playing

Ngilai playing at the dust bath

Ngilai front followed by Pika Pika

Ngilai greeting Ivia

Ngilai and Emoli sparring

Tagwa sparring with Ngilai