Sidai's Story

The Ol Pejeta Conservancy, situated near the town of Nanyuki at the foothills of Mount Kenya is 90,000 acres in extent, was purchased in 2004 by Fauna and Flora International, a UK based conservation organization. The managment contract was given to the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy run by Ian Craig. Batian Craig, the son of Ian, is the overall supervisor of the management of the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, within which is The Sweetwaters chimpanzee sanctuary. Ol Pejeta is also the birth place of another of our orphans now living wild called "Sweet Sally".

Sidai's Story

The baby was a female of just under two years old, since one could feel tiny tusks just breaking through the lip membrane. Batian Craig suggested that she be named Sidai, the Masai word for “beautiful thing”, and beautiful she is, with a lovely face, soft brown eyes shaded by long lashes, and a very gentle and loving temperament, attributes that we would witness in the 48 hours that followed.

All this, however, was not immediately obvious upon arrival in the Nairobi Nursery, where she was given the usual prophylactic antibiotic injection before being unbound in the “Taming Stockade” recently occupied by orphan “Sian”. Understandably, the newcomer was extremely traumatized and very wild, refusing to take milk or rehydration, and simply bent on trying to “nail” her attendants at every opportunity. Desperately the two Keepers who spent the night with her tried to coax her into accepting milk – the lifesaver she so desperately needed, but by the next morning, even our Veteran Keeper, Mishak, had not been successful. The other orphans were then brought in and this calmed her visibly. Within another 2 hours, she was beginning to take milk from the bottle, but refused the vital electrolytes. Although the milk intake was a hopeful sign, shortly afterwards the dreaded trembling and shaking began, which is always a prelude to collapse and death. We despaired, but very fortunately we had some bottles of Dextrose intravenous drip left over from another such casualty, and Robert was able to put this into an ear vein pending the arrival of the Vet. This, plus handfuls of glucose stuffed directly into the mouth, clearly kept the elephant alive, but only just, until the Vet arrived with more bottles of intravenous dextrose drip and administered injections of selenium, magnesium and Vitamin E as well as Vitamin B 12 to stimulate her appetite. Clearly the calf had extremely low blood sugar levels, brought about by milk deprivation and the trauma and stress of capture, and that this had resulted in “muscular dystrophy”, a life threatening condition. Being a muscle, the heart begins to fail, and very soon the patient is gone. On this occasion, however, we were rewarded when with help, the elephant was able to get back onto her legs, and shortly afterwards began to take milk from the bottle, all signs of aggression having vanished. We were euphoric, and really thought that we had won the battle for her life, but another trembling attack seized her the next morning, and yet again Robert most fortunately was at hand to put the intravenous drip back into an ear vein. This time, Sedai remained standing, and as the blood sugar levels were again restored, so the trembling ceased.

However, it was the electrolytes that she needed most at this point in time, and when she began to take them, hope was restored. She was also now calm and loving, pressing her head against the body of the Keepers, and greeting all visitors with touching trust, illustrating yet again, the very forgiving nature of elephants.

By the afternoon of the 5th, she was sufficiently strong to be allowed out with the others, and by the morning of the 6th, she left with them all at dawn. We remained cautiously optimistic that her life had been spared and that this beautiful little elephant would grow up to become a caring Matriarch, and one of what we call our “miracles” to have been snatched from the jaws of death, thanks to Robert and Sanjay, our Veterinarian. She was an extremely gentle calf and remains so as an adult today, wandering with Yatta's ex-orphan herd near the Ithumba stockades where she was successfully reintroduced to the wild.

Adopt Sidai for yourself or as a gift for a loved one.

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.

Adopt Sidai for yourself or as a gift for a loved one.

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.

Current age

15 years old



Rescued date

1 February 2006

Rescue Location

Laikipia, Ol Pejeta Conservancy

Date of Birth (approximate)

19 June 2004

Reason Orphaned

Drought related

Age at Rescue

1 year old (approx)

Current Location

Living Wild

Sidai's featured photos

Our digital adoption programme includes the following:

Personalised adoption certificate.

Monthly email update on your orphan and the project.

Monthly water colour by Angela Sheldrick.

Access to special content; latest Keepers' Diaries, videos and photos

Give Sidai the gift of life by adopting today.

Latest updates featuring Sidai

Updates: Boromoko, Sirimon and Sokotei head to the Ithumba Unit

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Updates: Wendi has a wild born baby

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Updates: Kithaka, Lemoyian and Barsilinga move to Ithumba

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Sidai's Latest Photos

Naserian, Sidai and Chyulu


Sidai, baby Kama and Kinna

Tusuja, Nusu and nanny Sidai

Kama running from Sidai, Yoyo and Yatta

Kama, Wiva, Gawa and Nanny Sidai

Sidai joins the orphans

Wiva, Roi and Sidai relaxing