Alamaya is one of the seven orphan baby elephants rescued by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT), whose names adorn our Elephant Strength Gin miniature bottles. We chose to foster these seven beautiful elephants as they’ve shown an incredible strength and persistence, overcoming terrible heartaches, unbelievable traumas, injuries and losses of their family.

In March 2015, DSWT received the news from the Mara Conservancy wardens and rangers within the Maasai Mara National Reserve who had been monitoring the young, approximately 14 months old calf for some time. It had become clear to them that this abandoned baby was orphaned, as he had already been ravaged by hyenas. The fate of his herd and mother, and the reason for his abandonment, remains a mystery.

Mobilised DSWT and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) veterinary unit teams rushed to the area where the calf was last seem, and struggled with capturing Alamaya – despite being injured he remained really strong. On close inspection upon arrival at DSWT, it was been discovered that his rear had been chewed up, with his genitals damaged and his tail bitten clean off. His rescue had come in the nick of time. After the treatment and a warm welcome from 33 other orphans, he was helped to his feet and within an hour he was drinking fresh water and eating fresh greens.

Alamaya’s story does have an extraordinary twist however. Initially DSWT team thought Alamaya was a female, and their first reports indicated as much, but an operation three months after his rescue was performed to help cut away scar tissue which was inhabiting Alamaya urinating properly. Early on in the operation it was discovered that Alamaya was a he, so severe were his injuries that nothing remained that could obviously indicate that.

He was named Alamaya, which is the Maa word for ‘Brave’. He was rescued not far from where little Boromoko was rescued, and has an identical face, with prominent protruding bug eyes fringed with beautiful eye lashes. He has the same loving easy nature and has settled in surprisingly fast to Nursery life.

Watch a rescue video here.

Photo copyright and text: David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust