They’ve Come So Far: Elephant Nursery Graduates From the Class of 2010! : Into the Wild
DSWT Elephant Orphanage Nursery Nairobi, Kenya, Africa
Relocated to: DSWT “Ithumba Rehabilitation Centre in Northern Tsavo East National Park”
On This Date: 7 June 2010
Kilaguni willingly accepted his morning bottle as he walked onto the transport truck, always the “trusting and mellow little elephant,” unlike Chaimu & Sabachi, his fellow nursery graduates, who were more reluctant, indeed. For this would be a big day for all, as an IMAX film crew was set to capture their journey, their big graduation day, as part of a soon to be released film “Born to Be Wild.”
Upon arrival to Ithumba, after taking milk from one of the Keepers, (Kilaguni again leading the way, accepting his elephant bottle and imparting “a calming influence on the other two more ‘feisty’ babies, Sabachi and Chaimu”) Kilaguni initially seemed overwhelmed, remaining “glued to a Keeper.” (The three newcomers were greeted by, not only a wild group of elephants, some of whom had been hand-reared at the DSWT and had kept in touch with their former home and human Keepers, but also a welcoming group from the still milk dependent Ithumba orphaned elephants in residence at the time, which could have been overwhelming, indeed!)
As the day progressed and the IMAX filming continued, Kilaguni found ways to explore and join in the fun with all of his new elephant friends. What with the discovery of all of the new kinds of “delicious elephant food plants” during browsing, the lingering in the mudbath (& one mustn’t forget the dust bathing “which elephants all enjoy after bathing”) there just wasn’t enough time in the day! The only trepidation to be found, in this whirlwind of activity, came from Kilaguni, Chaimu & Sabachi. It seems the overcast skies, that had lingered all day, added to the foreboding aura of the pond. So instead of taking a full swim they just chose to throw water over themselves.
Exhausted from all of the filming and fun, it was time to call it a day. A wonderful day! Stable mates were carefully chosen to ease the transition for the “Nursery newcomers” (all age 2 at the time) yet young Kilaguni, at nightfall, seemed sad. “Keeper Mischak remained with the Nursery newcomers for a long time to settle Kilaguni, who was crying a lot and who, according to Mischak, was missing his Nursery blanket! But Loijuk comforted him, as did weak and ailing Sian and soon all three newcomers were happily feasting on the greens provided for them.”
As one day rolled into the next it became apparent that Kilaguni and his elephant friends were growing up. They now understood that this was their new home and would be until the day would come for them to be released back Into the Wild. “They will be nurtured and cared for and loved in that special pure elephant way that epitomizes caring and love, beautiful to behold as well as being extremely enlightening and touching for us humans who have been privileged to share their elephant lives, and even more privileged to have been loved in that elephant way.”
(all quotes in this section from “Moving Kilaguni, Chaimu and Sabachi“)
Adopt Kilaguni at Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
Watch YouTube Video: “The orphans’ project in action — Kilaguni’s journey”
Watch YouTube Video Born to Be Wild IMAX Movie Trailer
Watch YouTube Video “Born To Be Wild 3D Featurette” with Dame Daphne Sheldrick
FB 07052018 VIDEO “Kilaguni: One Elephant at a Time“
“Gentle Kilaguni is always easy to spot when he visits his former Keepers at Ithumba on account of his missing tail. It’s a reminder of the attack he miraculously survived, possibly at the hands of a hyena, when he was just five months old. After time spent healing at our Nursery, he rose through the ranks and is now living wild in the protected area surrounding our Reintegration Unit. Though his tail-less state hasn’t posed any physical problems, it has led to somewhat of an obsession with his friends’ tails which he loves to grab when he can!”
FB 09292016 PHOTO “Taken in 2010, this photo shows a two-year-old Kilaguni receiving a warm welcome from the older orphans at our Ithumba Reintegration Centre. Six years on and Kilaguni is now a proud member of Suguta’s herd, living wild in Tsavo National Park. Regularly visiting Ithumba, Kilaguni is still a very gentle and loving elephant, always pleased to see his Keepers again!”
FB 06062012 PHOTO LOVE THIS! Sweet photo of Kilaguni, his trunk curled around his keepers hand.
FB 12162011 PHOTO “An end of the day scratch for Kilaguni, against a large rock in the Ithumba stockades”
FB 04232011 PHOTO Kilaguni loves a good scratch! This time near the stockades.
FB 06142010 “Read the full account of Kilaguni, Chaimu and Sabachi’s journey to Ithumba last week.”
FB 06092010 PHOTO “Newly arrived Chaimu, Sabachi and Kilaguni as they settled in for their second night in their new home. Loijuk is looking after them in their stockade. She is such a great foster mum & has a great calming effect on them.”
FB 06082010 “From Ithumba: Well what an incredible evening, all the ex-orphans arrived and brought Chaimu, Kilaguni & Sabachi back to the stockade. It was unbelievable to see so many orphans in one place. Wendi, Kinna, Nasalot and Mulika were all jossling for position to be close to the new babies! Then all stood outside the stockade talking to the new babies. It was truely (sic) wonderful to witness. Chaimu seems to be most happy, loving every moment with the big eles and feeling comfortable in their prescence (sic).”
FB 06072010 “Today Kilaguni, Chaimu and Sabachi are being moved from the nursery to Ithumba. We wanted to get on the road at 4am, as the later part of the road to Ithumba is bad and so we didn’t want to do that part in the heat of the day.” They arrived “safely at Ithumba with the older orphans” and will “soon be heading back to the stockades for their first night in Tsavo”.
FB 06072010 PHOTO “Chaimu in the foreground with Ithumba orphans & Kilaguni in the far background being mothered by one of the older orphans!!!”
Don’t forget Kilanguni’s Keepers Diaries hold a wealth of information about this sweet bull elephant now reintegrated Into the Wild!
More Updates on Kilaguni
“Born To Be Wild” Film wiki
Images: All CC Flickr: Into the Wild Illustration Elephant Drawing by Biswajit Das Kunst ; by sarahgoldsmith elephant Kilaguni with visitor Rob at DSWT elephant orphanage in 2009 shortly after Kilaguni’s Rescue; by Mary Gillham Archive Project, African Elephants in Kilaguni, perhaps ancestors of rescued baby bull Kilaguni
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust YouTube Channel dswtkenya
Sheldrick Wildlife Trust facebook @SheldrickTrust
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Sheldrick Wildlife Trust on Twitter @SheldrickTrust
Sheldrick Wildlife Trust on Instagram