Miracle Moments: Wild-Born Calves Bring Joy to Elephants Raised by DSWT

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s (DSWT) Orphans’ Project has achieved a remarkable milestone with the recent birth of wild-born babies to elephants raised and nurtured by the Trust.

This achievement not only signifies the success of the Orphans’ Project but also underscores the ability of rescued elephants to thrive and lead natural lives in the wild.

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In a genuinely significant month, three members of the Ex Orphan herd at Ithumba, including matriarch Yatta and her adopted sisters Sunyei and Nasalot, welcomed healthy calves, bringing the total count of wild-born babies to an impressive 28.


This milestone highlights the Trust’s success in rescuing and raising orphaned elephants and showcases the natural expansion of the Ex-Orphan herds.

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Yatta, rescued at just one-month-old in 1999, returned to her former stockades in October 2017 to celebrate the birth of her second calf, a robust little boy named Yoyo.

The palpable joy within the herd during this celebration marked a profound moment for the Ex-Orphan family and their human caretakers.


A week later, Nasalot arrived at the Nairobi Nursery in 2000 as a few months old orphan and celebrated the birth of her first calf, a playful little bull named ‘Nusu.’

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Nasalot’s journey from a restless orphan to a first-time mom exemplifies the Orphans’ Project’s transformative impact and the resilience and adaptability of these elephants.

The month of celebration continued with Sunyei, rescued as a tiny infant, giving birth to a healthy girl named Siku.


Sunyei’s return to the fences with her newborn showcased the deep Trust and bond elephants share with their human caregivers, emphasizing the success of raising orphans to lead natural lives in the wild.

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The Ex Orphan herds, including the new additions, are gradually evolving into a composition that mirrors a wild pack, complete with sisters, aunts, teenage calves, and newborns.

The Trust, caretakers, and the Ex Orphan herds’ collaborative efforts have played a pivotal role in achieving this harmonious transition.


As the Ex Orphan herds continue to flourish, the success of the Orphans’ Project is evident not only in the number of orphans successfully reintegrated into the wild but also in the growing number of wild-born calves.

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The interconnectedness of the Trust’s’ projects, including mobile veterinary units and anti-poaching teams, ensures the safety and security of all wildlife in Tsavo.

The DSWT expresses profound gratitude for the support that allows them to continue their vital work in rescuing, raising, and protecting elephants.


The births of Yoyo, Nusu, and Siku stand as a testament to the enduring impact of the Orphans’ Project, offering hope and inspiration for the continued conservation efforts to protect and preserve these magnificent creatures in their natural habitats.

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