Heartwarming Tale: Naisula, the Rescued Elephant, Welcomes a Newborn in Northern Tsavo

In the stillness of a December 5th night, an Ithumba team member peered into the night vision camera, vigilantly watching over Tsavo’s wilderness.

All seemed tranquil – to quote the Christmas poem, “Not a creature was stirring…” The orphaned elephants were snug in their enclosures, while a few former orphans rested outside. Most lay down for a peaceful slumber, except for one who remained standing.

Watch the video at the end.


While recording, an unexpected movement captured their attention at the camera’s lower edge.

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Intrigued, they zoomed in to investigate and discovered a tiny figure darting beneath a towering elephant. On closer inspection, they recognized Naisula, the orphan, and her recently born calf!

Naisula’s newborn brought quite a stir as the calf demanded attention during her midnight debut. Despite numerous attempts to settle down, the calf abruptly jumped up, urging her nannies to awaken and attend to her needs.

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Seeking some rest, Olare gently nudged the little one away with her foot, leaving Naisula to stand guard and watch over her daughter with immense pride as her companions slept soundly nearby.

It was a momentous night for Naisula, as her maternal instincts shone through, evident in her vigilant protection and observation of every move her calf made.

After a restful night, the group awoke, refreshed, and prepared for a new day. The Keepers found Naisula and her newborn outside the fences, accompanied by Olare, Loijuk, and Lojuk’s three-year-old daughter, Lili.

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In keeping with the tradition among our ex-orphan mothers, Naisula’s top priority was to introduce her newborn to the humans who raised her.

She appeared to have journeyed to Ithumba immediately after giving birth, patiently waiting until dawn to present her baby to her human-elephant family.

In honor of her nighttime arrival, we’ve named Naisula’s daughter Nyx, after the Greek goddess of the night.

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The orphans were overjoyed, as if Christmas had arrived early. Malkia, Mteto, Malima, and Esampu were thrilled to welcome a newborn elephant. They eagerly encircled the little one, each trying to play a nurturing role.

After the morning introduction, Naisula, Nyx, Olare, Loijuk, and Lili ventured into the bush. The dependent orphans joined them for a midday mud bath, an exciting experience for all.

Nyx, in particular, displayed confidence, curiosity, and boundless energy. After spending about an hour with the Ithumba herd, they went their separate ways.


With the arrival of rain in Ithumba, the elephants could travel longer distances and relish fresh greens.

Naisula’s story has taken an exhilarating turn, marking a new chapter in her remarkable journey spanning over 12 years.

We rescued Naisula from Samburu in 2010, although the cause of her orphanage remains a mystery. However, we strongly suspect that the poachers took away her mother.


Naisula’s rescue was extraordinary for many reasons. She was nearly two years old when she arrived at our Nursery.

Most elephants her age, particularly those from regions where humans have persecuted these magnificent creatures, tend to be wary and suspicious. Yet Naisula was different. She was friendly and trusting right from the start.

When she arrived, she didn’t hesitate to accept milk or sleep beside one of our Keepers, waking up the next day ready to join the rest of the Nursery herd.


In Samburu, Naisula means ‘victorious girl,’ a name bestowed by her initial Keepers who were captivated by her gentle nature.

Surviving on her own all those years ago was Naisula’s first triumph, and now, with the arrival of her beautiful daughter, she has another reason to celebrate.

Given her affectionate and nurturing personality, we are confident that Naisula will be an exceptional mother to Nyx. Nyx is fortunate to have a loving and caring mother who epitomizes grace and competence.


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