Oltaiyoni's Story

On the 22nd of October, Angela Sheldrick was called by a staff member from Ziwani Voyager Lodge located in Tsavo West National Park with news of a young lone orphaned elephant that had been seen hanging around close to the lodge for a number of days. It was clear the young elephant was an orphan due to her deteriorating condition.

Oltaiyoni's Story

The DSWT Voi Keepers, together with the KWS/DSWT Veterinary unit, were contacted and in the late evening arrived at the scene. With the help of the lodge staff, the team easily caught and restrained the calf. She was carefully placed in the back of a vehicle and given intravenous fluids for the duration of the journey back to the Voi Stockades in Tsavo East National Park. Once there the keepers placed her in one of the taming stockades with the orphans close at hand for comfort. She was too wild to feed on milk and due to the late hour the arrangements to fly her to the Nairobi Nursery were planned for the following day.

The calf who is estimated to be approximately six months old has been named Oltaiyoni; after a small tributary running into the Ziwani swamps close to where she was rescued.
The next morning Oltaiyoni seemed calmer and took a bottle of milk, while the Voi team awaited the arrival of the Nairobi Keepers in the rescue aircraft. She was recaptured and prepared for the flight before being driven the short 3km to the Voi National Park airstrip to wait for the arrival of the plane. The Nairobi Keepers once again placed her on I.V. fluids to manage her dehydration levels throughout the flight.

Once Oltaiyoni arrived at the Nursery she was placed in a stable with Barsilinga as a neighbor next door. She immediately took her milk, but remained very shy and fearful of any humans coming too close. She was ready to join the others out in the Park the very next day and quickly learnt the ropes, absolutely addicted to her milk bottle. Barsilinga quickly became a dear friend and this incurred the wrath of a jealous Kithaka who was Barsilinga’s close companion. Poor little Oltaiyoni has had to contend with Kithaka not always being very nice to her from time to time. Thankfully however, this is becoming less frequent as Kithaka has learnt to accept that Oltaiyoni is here to stay and he will just have to share the attentions of Barsilinga with her.

Adopt Oltaiyoni for yourself or as a gift.

Adopt Oltaiyoni for yourself or as a gift.

Current Age

11 years old



Rescued date

23 October 2013

Rescue Location

Tsavo Ecosystem, Tsavo West NP

Date of Birth (approximate)

20 April 2013

Reason Orphaned


Age at Rescue

6 months old (approx)

Current Location

Ithumba Reintegration Unit

Oltaiyoni's featured photos

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

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Oltaiyoni's latest photos


Oltaiyoni arriving in the morning for Lucerne


Narok and Oltaiyoni at the water trough

Oltaiyoni leading

Oltaiyoni dust bathing

Enkikwe wrestling Oltaiyoni

Oltaiyoni and Larro