Madiba 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. A tiny Southern African orphan (then called) Olly arrived by air to the DSWT’s nursery at Christmas time. They welcomed little Olly with a feeling of great joy, knowing that this tiny elephant had evaded a life of bondage.
Olly was rescued in Botswana, found in a riverbed suffering from a deep head wound, possibly inflicted by a predator, which left him confused, able only to walk in circles, and abandoned by his elephant family who had obviously given all hope for his survival. With a difficulty, he was moved from Botswana to Wildcare near Pretoria, South Africa, an internationally recognised rehabilitation centre that takes in four legged waifs and strays.
From there, the wheels were set in motion for the elephant to be able to come to Kenya and join DSWT orphaned elephant family. And on the 23rd December, after a 7 hour journey, lightly sedated and crated, he arrived at Wilson Airport in Nairobi at 6 p.m. From there he was transported to DSWT Elephant Nursery.
The very next day he was out and about with the other 8 nursery inmates, cosseted by them all, and particularly by the mini nursery matriarch, Wendi who was delighted to welcome into the group another very small, very furry baby of 3 months, tiny for his age, smaller even than 2 month old Ndomot.
With the permission of Wildcare, DSWT changed his name to reflect his Southern African origins and henceforth he is now known as Madiba, the name by which famous Nelson Mandela is affectionately known in his homeland.
Photo credits and text: David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust