His name, “Olmeg” is the Masai term for “ the outsider”, in other words, anyone who is not born a true pure blooded Masai warrior. This elephant was born near Maralal in Northern Kenya, and orphaned when he was just 2 weeks old, when his family stampeded under a hail of poachers’ bullets. It is not known how many elephants were killed or wounded on the day that Olmeg was left an orphan, for it was during a period when poaching was still completely out of control throughout the country, with elephants dying daily in large numbers everywhere, the Government Department charged with their protection often the main poaching culprits. The International Ivory Ban, which brought poaching under control, was still 3 years hence. This tiny calf fell into a deep trench as his family were running for their lives and there he was left for dead by the fleeing herd. He was found a day later by herdsmen, sunburnt, confused and very dehydrated. They took him to the nearby Maralal Safari Lodge, where he was kept for the next week, being fed on cows’ milk and grated carrots, which, of course, did him no good at all. Finally, when he looked as though he was going to die, the Manager, (who, nevertheless, had done his best) brought him to us, having heard that Daphne knew something about elephant orphans. The baby was in a pitiful state, suffering from serious diarrheoa (due to the incorrect diet) extremely sun damaged ears and a very septic umbilicus oozing pus.Meanwhile, we tried hard to persuade Olmeg to spend his nights in a small stone chicken house, (minus the chickens!) with just one of Daphne’s dresses, bearing her scent to represent that vital human presence, but he was having none of it, and the midnight walks around the yard continued, loud protests punctuating the night about the new sleeping arrangement. Unhappily, our Ranger Assistant didn’t work out either, for he lacked the empathy needed, and Olmeg hated him with a passion, refusing even to accept milk from him. Hence, the new Elephant Keeper had to be returned with thanks and we then set about recruiting our own, and, of course, more than just one, so that the men could have time off. Gradually, they took over the Orphan duties, and Daphne and Jill could not only catch up on lost sleep, but also turn their attention to the many other duties that had been sadly neglected!
Important Note: Thank you for adopting and being part of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust family. It is important to note that your donation will help any orphan in need. Our orphans will need more than one adoptive parent.
32 years old
2 March 1987
Samburu, Maralal National Park
Date of Birth (approximate)
1 February 1987
Age at Rescue
0 months old (approx)
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Monthly water colour by Angela Sheldrick.
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