Lobolo has been adopted and named as a wedding gift by Henry Palmer to Robin and Tessa of Elephant Gin. The name Lobolo, taken from the old Swahili word for the price to be paid by the husband to the bride’s family on the day of the marriage, was carefully and, rather cheekily, chosen. This young bull (on the left) likes to hang out with another elephant named by Elephant Gin – Spirits (far right).

From the very first bottle sold in September 2013, Elephant Gin has been giving 15% of all proceeds to two African elephant foundations to support the preservation of the African wildlife and help ensure that future generations will also be able to explore these magnificent landscapes.

In June 2019, Lobolo was treated for numerous spear wounds on the rump, back legs and trunk by joint efforts of Big Life Foundation, Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Kenya Wildlife Service. Up till then, he hasn’t been seen for a number of months. Wherever it is that he went, he clearly found trouble, and most likely the wounds were a result of conflict with humans. It could have been from continued fall-out following a spate of elephant hunting after two people were killed previous month by elephants to the north and outside of Big Life‘s core area of operation.

Thankfully Lobolo made it back to safety for help, which was quick to come. He was first spotted at a waterhole by guides from ol Donyo Lodge. Big Life rangers staked out the waterhole, knowing that Lobolo would soon return. When he did, late one afternoon, a well-rehearsed response kicked into action with a helicopter in place.

The pilot skillfully corralled Lobolo, keeping him in the open for a clear shot from the vet and his dart gun. The wounds were all successfully treated and packed with blue medicinal clay, and a groggy Lobolo woke up and ambled slowly off into the bush.

The Greater Amboseli ecosystem is a huge place, and while Big Life rangers try, they cannot keep an eye on all 2,000+ elephants moving through all of the time. They respond to all reported conflicts, and try to prevent any injuries to both humans and elephants. But this is not always possible, and we’re thankful for the work that the rangers do, and the partners Big Life team is able to call on to help the injured.

Text: Big Life Foundation
Photo credit: Jeremy Goss