This elephant was orphaned near the southern boundary of Tsavo East National Park, not far from Mackinnon Road, a small village so named for the man who laid the first tarred stretch during the Second World War in the 1930’s on the main Nairobi – Mombasa road. Taru’s family was likely to have been annihilated by poachers, for he was born during a period when poaching was completely uncontrolled in Tsavo National Park, and when its population of elephants, which once numbered 20,000, was reduced to a mere 5 – 6,000 during 3 decades of wholesale slaughter, perpetrated “in-house” as well as by Somali insurgents. He was only about 3 months old when he lost his elephant mother and family, and was taken to the Voi Orphan Stockades behind the Tsavo East Headquarters, where the then Matriarch, “Eleanor”, immediately embraced and commandeered him, as would a mother. However, not lactating, Eleanor could not provide him with what he needed most and that was milk. Nevertheless she was still very averse to being separated from him, and in the end it was necessary to rope the calf whilst she and he were in the Night Stockades and literally drag him out in order to gain possession of him so that he could come to the Nairobi Nursery.
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31 years old
15 October 1987
Date of Birth (approximate)
1 August 1987
Age at Rescue
2 months old (approx)
Personalised adoption certificate.
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Monthly water colour by Angela Sheldrick.
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Tassia climbing on Dabassa