A phone call from Mark Jenkins, Warden of Meru National Park, on the 25th April 2005 alerted us to the fact that he had spotted a young elephant, all alone and far from any other herds, who was obviously an orphan, and too young to survive without milk. Whilst we prepared all the gear, yet again, for the second rescue within a week (little Kora being the first), the Meru Park Rangers set forth to capture the calf, who turned out to be a bull just short of two years old, with tusks just visible through the lip but still very strong, although terribly thin; prominent cheek bones indicating a starvation case who had been without his mother’s milk probably for over two weeks (No calf younger than 2 can survive without milk, even though they may be eating vegetation, and those orphaned between the ages of 2 and 5 seldom make it without nutritional supplementation in the form of coconut, which contains the right sort of fat a young elephant needs for survival).Rapsu eventually made a full recovery and was a great asset to the group, the perfect sparring partner for the other little boys. Later he joined joined Napasha, Taita and Tomboi at the Ithumba Unit, who he is still friends with to this day and we often see him around Ithumba, when he comes to greet his old human family and see the dependent orphans too.
16 years old
25 April 2005
Meru Region, Meru National Park
Date of Birth (approximate)
29 May 2003
Man-made cause for separation
Age at Rescue
1 year old (approx)
Personalised adoption certificate.
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Monthly water colour by Angela Sheldrick.
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Rapsu joins the orphans
Rapsu with a wild bull
Rapsu with the orphans
Rapsu with the dependent orphans
Rapsu with 3 wild bulls
Rapsu bathing with the orphans
Garzi and Rapsu