Ol Malo's Story

25th April, 2003 late afternoon, and a phone call from "Rocky" Francombe of Ol Malo Lodge in Laikipia, alerting us that her husband, Colin, had gone out to rescue a young elephant, whose lone tracks had been spotted by the Ranch workers. It was too late to initiate a rescue, so we asked that the calf be confined for the night, not fed any milk, but, if possible given rehydration. A short while later, we were told that what they thought was a bull calf had been brought in, was safely ensconced in a padded room, but was too strong to be safely handled and was bellowing loudly! We felt for the Francombe's, who faced a noisy night.By 8 a.m. the next morning, the rescue plane was on its way. Aboard the plane was Roy Carr-Hartley (we always feel better when Roy is there, because he is a professional in terms of animal capture and rescue with a lifetime experience in this field), a K.W.S. Vet, David Ndeereh, (who will shortly be seconded to the Trust to work with our 4 de-snaring teams and cover both Tsavo East and West National Parks, funded for a three year stint by the International ngo Vier Pfoten) and Edwin, an excellent Nursery Elephant Keeper with a gentle manner and a soft and understanding heart. They went armed with all the usual rescue kit - the large round tarpaulin with rope handles all round, beer bottles in a plastic bottle crate filled with a weak mixture of milk and others with rehydration salts, blanket, mattress, rubber under-protection for the floor of Mike Seton's plane and the Vet equipped with everything needed to sedate the calf for the journey.

Ol Malo's Story

They found the baby in fine fettle, a female calf estimated to be about 4 months old. Edwin proffered her bottle of milk, which she hungrily downed, followed by rehydrants, and from that moment on, she was trusting and unafraid, following him around, begging for more. However, one has to be careful about too much, too soon. She was tranquilized for the plane journey, being an exuberant 4 month old, but was kept barely "under" for the flight, for baby elephants are extremely vulnerable and require the barest minimum. She arrived at the Nairobi Nursery at 11.30 a.m. on Saturday 26th April, much to the delight of all the usual "mud bath visitors" and at the request of the Francombe's, she has been named "OL MALO", the name of the Francombe’s property, which in the Samburu language means "The Place of the Greater Kudu".
A large number of our orphaned elephants originate in Laikipia district, three having come in within the last month, an indication that things are not as they should be for the elephants of Laikipia, which number some 5,000 in total. An escalation of poaching is evident in the north following the decision taken by CITES last year to ease the Ivory Ban and with so many orphans being found, it is obvious that the Laikipia elephants are in trouble. As yet, history does not relate what happened to the mother of Tomboi, of Wendi, of Selengai, of Morani, but we think we know what happened to the mother of little "Ol Malo", for we have news that an elephant was speared to death not far from where Ol Malo was found and we are pretty sure that was her mother, it being obvious that she had not been without milk for long. However, our orphans from Laikipia are the fortunate few, who will ultimately lead a natural and normal elephant life again, in a large National Park, embraced by another loving orphaned elephant family with all the older females, who are gentle and understanding having also suffered the loss of their family, to protect and care for them as they grow up under the care of their human family. Even when they are confident and happy among the wild elephants again, the human family will always be there for them should they find themselves in need of help, as some already have. Our orphans are fortunate indeed, for their future is assured by an international family of caring foster-parents, and we were always confident that little Ol Malo who is an exceptionally beautiful little elephant with a lovely face, would attract many of those.

Adopt Ol Malo 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 Ol Malo 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

21 years old



Rescued date

25 April 2003

Rescue Location

Laikipia, Ol Malo Ranch

Date of Birth (approximate)

15 January 2003

Reason Orphaned


Age at Rescue

3 months old (approx)

Current Location

Living Wild

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 Ol Malo the gift of life by adopting today.

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