Sadly Rukinga passed away on November 6th, 2012. He shall forever remain in our hearts

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Rukinga's Story

This tiny orphan was found by the Rukinga team rangers attached to a patrol base on Mgeno Ranch in the Voi area on the 27th of September 2012. He was first seen alone near a cattle waterhole called Panda II. There was no evidence of any wild elephants remaining in the area, and he had obviously been alone for some time as his ears were becoming tender and sun burnt. The scouts monitored him for a further three hours to be sure that his herd or mother was not going to return. In this time it was evident the calf was desperate for company, joining a herd of cattle that had come in to water. He was only a few weeks old, with the dried remnants of his umbilical cord still showing on his underside, and given the increase of poaching in this area it is possible his mother was poached as elephants rarely leave their young.

Rukinga's Story

The team who found him was a joint patrol between Kenya Wildlife Service and Wildlife Works, an umbrella organization involved in supporting the management of 14 ranches in the area through the sale of carbon credits from the land.

Rukinga was brought to the local patrol base and there, bewildered, he was tethered to a tree. A film crew studying the effects of poaching in the area joined him, and kept him company until the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Team from the Voi Rehabilitation Unit was called to collect him in their vehicle.

Meanwhile the Nairobi rescue team was deployed and flew to meet the Voi Keepers on the ground in order to collect the calf and bring him to the Nursery Unit, joining the other young orphans at the rehabilitation centre in Nairobi. He is very young, we think approximately three weeks, but is a huge calf, almost the size of Barsilinga and he totally dwarfs little Kinango. His arrival was initially met with a luke warm reception from the older Nursery orphans who tended to shun him for little Kinango. He did not seem overly distressed by this though having battened onto the Keepers by this stage. However over time Sonje and Murera have taken him under their wings and he is now basking in their love. Murera is the oldest orphan in the Nursery and now that she has healed it has been amazing to watch her change, from being reclusive during her wounded months, preferring the company of her Keepers and Orwa only, later Sonje too, and now she is a boisterous member of the Nursery herd, and even with the capacity to show maternal instinct towards the new little calf who has settled in well and seems totally content with his new elephant family.

Date of Passing

6 November 2012



Rescued date

25 September 2012

Rescue Location


Date of Birth (approximate)

4 September 2012

Reason Orphaned


Age at Rescue

3 weeks old (approx)

Passed away

06 November 2012

Rukinga's Archival Updates

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The rescue of Ukame

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Rukinga's Archival Photos


Rukinga by a tree

Ngasha and Rukinga

Barsilinga and Rukinga

Barsilinga sucking Rukinga's ear

Rukinga joining the herd

Sweet Rukinga

Rukinga with Sities