Field Trip to Meet the Elephant Orphans of Reteti


By George Mugera, Assistant Conservation Education Officer

Date Published

Save the Elephants’ education team recently organized a field trip to the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary in the remote Mathews’ Range in northern Kenya for grade 8 pupils from Ngutuk Engiron Primary School.  STE has had a lasting partnership with the school where every year it conducts Living in Harmony with Elephants (LIHWE) lessons.

The Reteti Elephant Sanctuary, is the first community owned and run elephant sanctuary in northern Kenya. In two years, the sanctuary has rescued more than 40 elephant orphans, several giraffe and rhino calves. Operating in the Namunyak Conservancy, the sanctuary is designed to rescue and release abandoned and orphaned elephant calves whilst creating much needed benefits to the local people that live alongside them.

Pupils were eager to hear from the facility’s staff. They learnt of threats to rangelands, detailed information about some of the orphans including their plights, their rescues and their names.  Jonathan, the seasoned para-veterinarian explained how orphan recruits are quarantined in order to prevent the transmission of disease. He also highlighted the importance of taking blood, fecal, and parasite samples from each elephant in order to keep their health profiles updated.

The students were introduced to the orphans’ feeding programme and even got to watch one adventurous elephant named Pokot, playing happily with a ball. There was plenty of laughter from the pupils as the elephants joyously took a messy mud bath.  They also got to meet the famous Shaba, the sanctuary’s four year old matriarch, whom Save the Elephants helped rescue in 2016.

The students were very curious and asked lots of questions, with some even expressing their desire to one day pursue conservation careers!



Students marvel at elephant tail hairs

The lab section, attentive pupils listening to Para-Vet, Mr. Jonathan

Good times after feeding, a cool mud bath