Sonje's Story

In the Galana Wildlife Conservancy, abutting the Eastern boundary of Tsavo East National Park, a lone calf of approximately 12 month old was sited alone on the 7th February 2012. The lone calf was again sited by the Galana Conservancy Warden on the 11th February, it now being clear that this was a milk dependent orphan with no chance of survival unless rescued. The Warden and his team monitored the calf all day, having reported its presence to the Senior Warden, Tsavo East National Park, and the Trust’s Field Officer, Richard Moller who alerted the Trust’s Nairobi Headquarters and the Voi Unit Elephant Keepers based at the Voi Elephant Stockades that a rescue was on the cards.

Sonje's Story

The capture took place on the 11th, the female orphan too weak and lame to put up much resistance. The right hind leg had a huge protrusion on the top joint which appeared to possibly be the result of a previous fracture. Two small scars at the site of swelling indicate that it could to be an old arrow or spear wound, leaving the calf walking with a pronounced limp. It was clear that this was a very lucky little elephant to have been found before a hungry lion, who was roaming the area, made a meal of her, which undoubtedly would have happened had she not been rescued that day.

The Galana Conservancy is the home of the small Waliangulu tribe who are traditional Elephant Hunters, elephants interwoven into their tribal culture in the same way that the spearing of a lion marks the passage to warrior hood for members of the Masaai tribe. It was therefore decided by the Rescue team that the elephant orphan be named “Sonje”, the Mliangulu word for “lame”.

Back at the Nursery the Keepers set about the task of calming little Sonje, who was quite aggressive to begin with, and persuading her to accept milk from a hand-held bottle. This was accomplished by the following morning. She began taking her milk eagerly.

Adopt Sonje 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 Sonje 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

8 years old

Gender

Female

Rescued date

11 February 2012

Rescue Location

Tsavo Ecosystem, Galana Ranch

Date of Birth (approximate)

20 April 2011

Reason Orphaned

Poaching

Age at Rescue

9 months old (approx)

Current Location

Umani Springs Reintegration Unit

Sonje'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 Sonje the gift of life by adopting today.

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Sonje's Latest Photos

Murera and Sonje with Mwashoti

Sonje looking rather wet

Sonje busy browsing

Sonje scratching

Sonje having a drink of water

Sonje browsing

Sonje out with the others

Sonje and Ngasha smelling spilt milk