A Heartwarming Arrival: Meet Mwana, the Baby Elephant Who Stole Our Hearts in Kibwezi Forest

In the lush embrace of Kibwezi Forest, a heartwarming miracle unfolded three months ago – the birth of a charming baby elephant. The advent of any elephant is a reason to celebrate, but this one is exceptional.

This adorable calf marks not only the first offspring of the Umani orphan herd in their natural habitat but also a testament to resilience and hope.

Watch the video at the end.


Meet Mwana, the newest addition to the Umani Springs herd and the proud daughter of Murera, a survivor and a symbol of our dedication to orphaned elephants.

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Murera’s remarkable journey from a victim of poaching to a thriving matriarch is genuinely inspiring. If you’re curious about her incredible story, delve into the latest edition of Field Notes.

Despite Murera’s challenges due to past injuries, her determination knew no bounds. It once seemed unlikely that she would have her offspring, but elephants always find a way to astonish us.

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On March 12th, 2023, Murera surprised everyone by quietly giving birth to a baby elephant.

She sounded a single trumpet of warning before vanishing into the nearby shrubs, leaving us with a new member of our herd just ten minutes later.

The name “Mwana” was chosen for Murera’s female calf, which means ‘female child’ in Swahili. It’s a fitting name because Mwana bridges two worlds – the wild and the care of her human-elephant family.

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The initial days of Mwana’s life were critical, and we witnessed beautiful moments between mother and child.

With some help from the Keepers, who bottle-fed Mwana day and night until she could nurse naturally on the eleventh day, Mwana is now thriving.

The Umani elephant herd has particularly liked Mwana, the adorable little elephant. They are highly protective of her, responding swiftly to her every movement and sound.

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Kiasa and Enkesha have assumed primary caretaker roles for the baby, while older elephants like Zongoloni, Lima Lima, Quanza, and Sonje are considering starting their own families.

Lima Lima had hoped to adopt Mwana at birth, but Murera, Mwana’s mother, had other plans. Similarly, when Zongoloni showed an interest in Mwana, Murera intervened to protect her calf from potential kidnapping attempts.

While male elephants usually don’t pay much attention to the young, the Umani boys have formed a unique bond with Mwana.

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Kiombo and Maktao often accompany her to the mud bath, and Mwashoti is a chaperone for Mwana and Murera. Kapei, initially jealous of Mwana’s arrival, has grown to accept her.

As the only calf among more enormous elephants, Mwana is proliferating, eagerly observing and mimicking her older companions’ behavior.

Mwana displays natural leadership qualities and a love for taking charge. She fearlessly leads the herd to the mud bath, whether walking beside her mother or Enkesha and Kiasa following closely behind.

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After a day of adventures in the forest, the mother-daughter duo retires to their spacious enclosure, where Mwana enjoys a long milk feed and playful activities before bedtime.

Murera watches over her little one as she sleeps, cherishing each breath and peaceful moment.

As we move forward, the future of Murera and Mwana remains uncertain. They may stay with their Umani family or explore new horizons as Mwana matures.


Regardless of their decision, our commitment to providing unwavering support and care on their journey remains steadfast.

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