Sadly Selengai passed away on October 2nd, 2012. She shall forever remain in our hearts

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Selengai's Story

On the 21st March 2003, we welcomed another tiny orphaned elephant into the Nursery, again from Sosian Ranch in Laikipia, the same privately owned Ranch that yielded the two year old orphan called "Sosian", who is now romping around in Tsavo along with his friends, in the process of gradually being able to take his rightful place within the wild elephant herds in a Park safeguarded in perpetuity by law. The latest tiny newcomer from Sosian Ranch was, as usual, airlifted to Nairobi by East African Air Charters, attended by a K.W.S. Veterinarian and two of our Staff members. Because she was so young with no fear of humans, she was able to avoid the risk of having to be sedated for the journey.

Selengai's Story

At the suggestion of the Ranch Owner, we have called this tiny female elephant"Selengai", which mean beautiful girl in Samburu. We estimate her age to be between l and 2 weeks old, for the hind side of the ears are still the telling petal pink, the umbilicus not entirely dry. As soon as the ears turn dark behind, (usually between 3 and 6 weeks), we will be able to have a more accurate assessment of her exact age, because elephant babies come in big and small parcels, just like humans and size is never a good indicator.

Apparently, this baby was found just wandering alone on one of the ranch tracks, suggesting that the mother has either perished, or the calf became separated during a stampede. Although the ranch owner assures us that there is no poaching on his land, elephants cross boundaries, swallowing the miles in enormous strides that cover huge distances, (as we know from the experience of Imenti), so what happens beyond small safe havens has a bearing on behaviour. There can be no denying that the Laikipia population of elephants have, and do, suffer intense harassment as a result of poaching for ivory and also as a result of human elephant conflict in cultivation that has cut their ancient migration routes, so little Selengai is obviously the product of this. Furthermore, many elephant mothers of today are very young and inexperienced, giving birth at an age when still little more than children, as the experience of Malaika taught us. This, too, is a result of disruption of the natural family structure through poaching and the absence of older relatives that would normally keep over exuberant young and often badly behaved bulls in line.

Immediately on arrival, little Selengai settled in, drinking copious quantities of rehydration and during the course of the night downing 15 pints of SMA Goldcap milk, which is not a bad start, although 18 would have been better. She was exhausted and slept well and long, cuddled up beside a Keeper and covered in a blanket, with another blanket slung midway across the stable to provide a large dark comforting shape nearby affording the illusion of mother, as well as something soft against which to rest the baby trunk and which feels a little like mother's body. This is a "must" for the newborns, for until the trunk feels comfortable, there is no chance of getting the milk down.

She was in the stable next door to Wendi, and first thing the next morning, all the elephants crowded near her quarters, eager to meet the newcomer, and welcome her into the fold. The door was opened and out came Selengai to an excited and joyous introduction from the four others. Seraa was over the moon, playing the role of little Mummy, Mpala felt protective putting his ears out to threaten approaching people other than the Keepers, Wendi rushed around trying to down bystanders she felt shouldn't be there, and Tomboi looked large beside the new baby. After the initial introductions, they all went off in a tightly knit little herd following their human family into the bush to begin little Selengai's first day in the Nursery. However, because she will need demand feeding, and careful monitoring over the next couple of days, she will remain (with her blanket) close by until we are sure that she is sufficiently fit and strong to join the others further afield.

Date of Passing

2 October 2012



Rescued date

22 March 2003

Rescue Location


Date of Birth (approximate)

15 March 2003

Reason Orphaned

Natural causes

Age at Rescue

1 week old (approx)

Passed away

02 October 2012

Selengai's Archival Updates

Help for a Bull Injured in a Mating Quest

Read more

DSWT Anti-Poaching Rangers Graduate from Manyani Academy

Read more

Catastrophe at Ithumba: Ex-Orphan Selengai Poached

Read more

Selengai's Archival Photos

Wendi, Yetu and Selengai

Selengai and Wendi

Yatta, Meibai and Selengai


Selengai and Nasalot

Selengai and Kinna

Yatta, Kinna & Selengai at stockade water trough

Selengai playing