New Arrivals


Rebecca Sargent, International Intern

Date Published

Baby elephants are perhaps the cutest things on the planet. And this blog is basically just an excuse to show you lots of adorable pictures of them!

Last year there was a baby boom here in Samburu. In 2009 the area suffered from a severe drought meaning that many elephants died. As elephants have a gestation of 22 months, this meant that 2012 was a record year for births. 62 new calves were born as a result of females conceiving following the death of their calves in the drought and for this reason 2013 had been a slow year for births.

However in July there was much excitement amongst everyone at STE when the first baby of the year arrived! It appeared in the reserve with one of the sporadic families named the Rift Lakes. His mother, Elementaita, was very nervous of vehicles making it difficult for us to get many photos of the youngster. This was my first glimpse of such a young baby, who we guessed was perhaps a week old, and it was lovely to see how his family protected him by constantly surrounding him with a barrier of legs – frustrating for tourists but also very heart-warming.

The first calf of 2013

Following this new arrival we had a gap of several weeks. I was due to go home but was very happy that I had seen at least one new calf. Then happily I got the news that I could stay longer in Samburu and I have now been able to witness a miniature baby boom throughout the months of Sept-Oct with 15 calves having been born so far.

One of the first in the wave is perhaps my favourite belonging as he does to Cinnamon, one of my favourite matriarchs. We have spent many enjoyable minutes watching him attempt to imitate his mum in pulling up grass, taking a nap snuggled up to his 2 year old niece and charging around getting used to his little elephant legs. I am sure with a mum as tough and experienced as Cinnamon he will be able to grow up happy and healthy. I am also pleased to report that the Swahilis have continued to be sighted with the Spice family, so perhaps Habiba will be offering her services as babysitter.

Cinnamon with her new calf

A tangle of elephants- Cinnamon’s baby boy takes a nap with his niece beneath the belly of his oldest sister Dill

At the beginning of October we were astounded by the arrival of the First Ladies who had a plethora of babies with them. This family had not been seen since the start of the year and as we sat amongst them attempting to ID all these seldom seen elephants baby after baby began to appear! Eventually we concluded that there were 6 new babies in the group; ranging from a week to a day old!

A First Ladies baby

Since then we have seen new babies in several of our resident families including the Royals, the Artists 2 and the Storms. What a happy time to be here in Samburu, watching these tiny creatures learning to be elephants as the rains arrive and shoots of fresh green grass begin to appear.

Sarah Fergie of the Royals has a new calf who can’t quite figure out the best method of getting back on his feet (unbelievably cute photos courtesy of my fellow intern Carley!)

Sucking his trunk while considering his next move