Sosian's Story

A new orphan called Sosian arrived in the Nairobi Nursery on the 17 of July 2002.

Sosian's Story

A 2 ½ year old elephant who had a week previously been spotted wandering around on his own from the air, but no one was too concerned at the time as there were a number of elephants in the area and it was felt that he would more than likely assimilate into one of those herds. A week later a mounted security patrol on Sosian Ranch in the Rumuruti district of Kenya sighted what was obviously the same baby elephant lying underneath a tree with what seemed like a very distended stomach. They alerted the ranch managers and a rescue team was dispatched. They managed to capture this young calf, an impressive feat given the size of him. No one knows the reason for Sosian being orphaned, or the whereabouts of his mother, dead or alive, so to this day it remains a mystery.

Mike Seaton, like so many times previously, came to the rescue and dispatched his Cessna Grand Caravan along with a team from The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and a KWS vet, to collect the orphan. No one was prepared for the size of this elephant, as previous reports had said the orphan was “the size of a goat”. On arrival our team were taken to where Sosian was being held, and then faced the daunting task of loading the sedated calf onto a landcruiser to transport him to the airstrip, followed by the near impossible task of lifting the 500 + kilos of calf into the plane, and then the unloading and transportation to our Nairobi Nursery. This meant that they only arrived back here at 8.00pm in the evening, having embarked on this rescue mission at 2.00pm in the afternoon.
On arrival at the Nairobi nursery we placed Sosian in our most secure stockade, as he was certainly too big for our infant stables, and the Keepers, while ever watchful, handled the situation with caution, very conscious of Sosian’s size! We had some anxious moments while the KWS vet tried to revive him, as he had by this time been under anesthetic for longer than anticipated, but fortunately it wasn’t long before we could all relax again as he slowly came back to life. Right from the moment he came around he began feasting on greens and hasn’t looked back since. When the other nursery orphans were brought to his stockade in the early morning he seemed to relax, although he was inclined to be fairly rough with them.

Had all lines of communication around this rescue been clearer we would have prepared to take Sosian directly to join the older orphans in Tsavo. However, given the delays encountered once the plane arrived in Rumuruti, time no longer permitted the lengthy flight down there, so a decision was made to bring the larger than expected orphaned calf directly to the Nairobi nursery. It was probably the appropriate place for him to be for the first couple of weeks so that we could monitor him closely, tame him down, and make sure he was in perfect health before joining the others his age in Tsavo.

Adopt Sosian for yourself or as a gift.

Adopt Sosian for yourself or as a gift.

Current Age

24 years old



Rescued date

17 July 2002

Rescue Location

Laikipia, Sosian Ranch

Date of Birth (approximate)

1 February 2000

Reason Orphaned


Age at Rescue

2 years old (approx)

Current Location

Living Wild

Our digital adoption programme includes the following:

Personalised adoption certificate.

Monthly email update on your orphan and the project.

Monthly watercolour by Angela Sheldrick.

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

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Sosian's latest photos


Sosian drinking water

Sosian browsing


Sosian and Salama

Sosian and a wild friend

Wild elephant who had been browsing near Sosian