Doldol: The Resilient Tiny Orphan Who Captured Hearts

In the remote town of Dol Dol, nestled on the northern edge of the Laikipia Plateau in Kenya, a heartwarming story of survival and resilience unfolds.

On a chilly night in November 2021, a small calf was discovered in a community area, abandoned by its mother during birth.

Watch the video at the end.


Dol Dol’s harsh climate, with frigid alpine winds sweeping down from Mount Kenya, posed a daunting challenge, especially for a newborn calf.

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However, a compassionate community member stepped in as an angel, providing warmth and protection to the calf for the night. Angela Sheldrick, alerted by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), sprang into action.

The SWT/KWS Mount Kenya Mobile Vet Unit arrived at dawn, using a helicopter to transport the fragile calf to the nearest airstrip, where a Caravan with two Keepers awaited.

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This particular calf, though, was exceptional. It was tiny, barely reaching knee height, and had not yet received its mother’s colostrum, vital for building its immune system.

The team handled this delicate cargo with utmost care as they prepared for the flight to the Kaluku Neonate Nursery.

Typically, a group of Keepers looks after rescued animals, but special attention was needed for such a tiny calf.

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Mishak, a highly skilled Keeper known for his ability to care for challenging orphan elephants, was assigned the responsibility.

He would provide guidance, affection, and constant monitoring during this crucial, fragile period.

Doldol, as she came to be known, was placed in the stable block near Angela and Robert’s Tsavo house, enjoying her secluded corner of Kaluku. Her days were spent exploring the riverbanks, mud baths, and the lush lawns around her.

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She was never truly alone, surrounded by curious mongooses, playful hornbills, and the watchful eyes of dik-diks.

Even Lugut, an orphaned Verreaux’s eagle-owl, found fascination in her and would visit during the day.

Initially, Doldol relished being the only child and formed a deep bond with Mishak, even insisting on him staying beside her at night. However, as months passed, Doldol outgrew this need for constant attention.

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Mishak, understanding the importance of maintaining her fragile balance, dedicated eight months to ensure her success. Peter, a talented new addition to the team, became Doldol’s second caregiver.

In July 2022, Doldol’s world expanded when a new neonate arrived, challenging her status as the sole focus of attention.

Initially, she protested and sulked, but with the patient support of Mishak and Peter, she eventually embraced her role as an older sister.

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Doldol, despite being seven months older than her “little sister,” remained tiny in size, earning her the nickname “our little beetle.”

This moniker suited her perfectly, with her petite frame, cute bulging eyes, and round ears that flapped like wings.

Her curious and active nature resembled an insect, always buzzing around, exploring her surroundings.

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Doldol’s journey, starting with abandonment shortly after birth, is a testament to her resilience and the dedication of her caretakers.

She’s a tiny miracle with a whole life ahead, and her story highlights the importance of supporting orphaned animals.

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