Orwa, an orphaned elephant was adopted through the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust last year by Jenman East Africa – he was rescued by the trust when he was found all alone in an area called Orwa, in the South Turkana Game Reserve in Kenya. It is believed that his parents were sadly victims of poaching!
When our staff at Jenman East Africa heard about the trust and Orwa, they knew they had to do something, and pledged to ‘adopt’ him. He continues to live at the trust and will stay there for a very long time – and with Orwa’s annual “adoption” coming due in January, we know that Jenman East Africa will of course renew it!
At the sanctuary there are around 28 keepers; all of whom spend all their time with the elephants, acting as mothers/carers. They even sleep with them in their huts. This is because no baby elephant would ever find himself alone in the wild, so the keepers take on the role of the family. The orphans are on a rigid schedule of formula every 3 hours (similar to human motherhood) so the keepers are with them all day and night to ensure they get the love, attention and nutrition they need. They wander out in the Nairobi National park by day with all the keepers and then back at 5pm for milk and bed. The keepers rotate regularly, to ensure the elephants get used to more than one keeper, in case any given keeper is on leave and the elephants won’t respond to someone they haven’t met or grown to love.
Orwa had really come from a horrible situation – when he was rescued he was emancipated and near-death. The Trust team were even surprised that he survived the first night… many months afterwards Orwa was very depressed and stayed away from the other orphaned elephants and only bonded with his carers. But, after the financial support supplied by Jenman East Africa (orphaned elephants need a lot of care and time; and the Trust needs the finances to make this happen) Orwa has begun to thrive!
The latest update: Not too long ago another elephant was brought into the Trust; had been reports circulating for about 3 weeks that there was another lonely young elephant out there with what looked to be a broken leg. Eventually she was found. Named Murera, she’d been caught in a man-made poaching trap that broke her leg; she was in immense pain and it was obvious that she did not trust humans. She was brought in to the Trust and her wounds were treated. She was also introduced to Orwa, and the two soon became great friends. Orwa helped Murera flourish and improve to the beautiful elephant she is today!