Laikipia is one of the 15 orphan baby elephants rescued by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT), whose names adorn our Elephant London Dry Gin miniature bottles.. His name, as well as his origin, comes from Laikipia District in the north of Kenya. He was orphaned at the age of one, when his mother died during a very dry season, either from drought, sickness or even as a result of bullet wounds. Due to the extreme conditions, she had had very little milk for many months, and the calf was emaciated and skeletal when rescued.
Laikipia arrived in the DSWT’s Nairobi Nursery in a extremely deprived condition in the late afternoon, extremely fearful of humans, but the soon enough (within half an hour!) he was taking milk from a bottle. Astonishingly, by the next morning he was part of the Nursery group, out in the bush with the other elephants and their keepers as though he had always belonged there. He was, indeed, lucky to find himself in a much safer home and with a much more secure future within a large protected area. His best friend and sparring partner was another young bull named Salama and these two babies romped happily together all day long.
Laikipia is a very gentle and loving little elephant, sociable with all visitors, always eager to suckle a thumb, wrapping his trunk around a neck for comfort. He is a very forgiving little soul when one considers what his relatives have had to endure in Northern Kenya where poaching has long been, and still is, a serious problem.
Photo credit and text: David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust