Anyone who has visited Loisaba Tented Camp will be familiar with the herd of greater kudu’s that have decided that living within the fence line of the lodge is a far safer bet than taking their chances out in the conservancy.

At the beginning of last month, camp managers George and Theresa Van Wyk found a newly born kudu who had injured herself. “She had slipped and was unable to get herself up onto her feet” says George. “We tried to help her up but she could not stand”.

Her mother was nearby, so they decided to leave them alone to see if the young calf would eventually get to her feet. However, when they returned to check on them later that evening, they found the calf still unable to get up. Although within the fence at Loisaba Tented Camp, predators such as leopards and hyenas can still get in, so she was in a very vulnerable position.

Unable to leave her to her fate, George and Theresa took her to their house and were able to bottle feed her, with Torrie (Loisaba’s livestock manager) administering anti-inflammatory injections to help with the healing process.

The Kudu calf (who has been named Binti – meaning daughter in Kiswahili) with George and Theresa’s son Patrick

Luckily, the calf’s mother – who initially disappeared when the calf was taken in – worked out where she was, and stayed in George and Theresa’s garden. The calf slept inside at night, but spent the day in the garden with her mother.

“She is still nursing an injured shoulder, but is getting stronger by the day, and should very soon be able to go off with her mother and the rest of the resident group of kudu who live around Loisaba Tented Camp – all of whom have come into the garden to visit the little one!

Binti with her mother in George and Theresa’s garden

“It’s been, and continues to be, quite a journey for the calf (whom we have named Binti, meaning Daughter in Swahili) – and an experience for us to see how the mother has accepted our assistance and not abandoned the calf.”

Binti was released with her herd last weekend, and has been sleeping out with them since. She’s doing well, and still comes into George and Theresa’s garden with her mother every day. “We have purposely avoided trying to approach her, as the most desirable result out of this is that she integrates fully. So as much as we loved having her with us, we are enjoying ‘letting her go’ and watching her development. It remains our hope that her limp will eventually disappear.”


By Susan Lentaam, Loisaba Assistant Conservation Officer

August 12th is World Elephant Day, which was first celebrated in 2012. This special day was created to draw attention to the urgent plight of African and Asians Elephants and encourage the global conservation community to work towards the conservation of these superlative and gentle creatures, which portray the finest human traits.

© Maurice Schutgens


Elephants are Important in the Ecosystem

Elephants are a keystone species in the northern Kenya Rangelands, playing a vital role in maintaining the ecosystem in which they live. Being an icon of the Africa Continent, elephants attract funding that help protect and conserve the ecosystems where they live. Elephants improve the health of the ecosystem as they play a key role in spreading seeds far and wide, as they roam from woodland to grassland, and create gaps in vegetation to allow the growth of small plants. In areas where streams are the main source of water, elephants use their tusks to dig for water. This not only helps the elephants to survive, but also acts as a source of water for other wildlife species.

© Maurice Schutgens


Main Challenges Facing Elephants in Northern Kenya

Habitat Loss

One of the main challenges facing elephants in Northern Kenya is habitat loss. Currently, African elephant have less land to roam than they did many years ago. As the human population expands and livestock numbers increase, pastoral communities are now encroaching into wildlife habitats to search for water and pasture, which increases chances of conflict. In addition, with the demand for agricultural products increasing, farms are also expanding – blocking elephant migratory corridors and limiting their movement. This means elephants are confined to smaller areas, and is changing elephants’ behaviour who have been known as migratory animals.

© Maurice Schutgens

Human Elephant Conflict

Human elephant conflict is another major problem facing elephants. Protected areas can support elephant populations during wet season, but during dry seasons elephants often move into community land to search for food and water. This increases the chance of human elephant conflict due to the frequent contact with elephants and, as a result, loss of life occurs on both sides. Elephants are gentle creatures but dangerous when scared or threatened.

Bull treated at Loisaba after injury caused by human-elephant conflict. © Max Silvester


Loisaba’s Efforts Towards Elephant Conservation

Loisaba is situated in an elephant corridor, and has always focused efforts on elephant conservation. We partner with Space for Giants to carry out the following:

  • Habitat protection and wildlife security
  • Intensive ranger patrols which often result in the rescue of elephant calves (which are taken to Reteti Elephant Sanctuary)
  • Elephant monitoring through collaring and individual identification (which helps us to estimate their population and home range as well as monitoring injured elephants)
  • Coordinate with the KWS for treatment of sick and injured elephants
  • Electric fence monitoring to keep elephants away from crop fields to reduce the human elephant conflict
  • Training rangers and local communities on elephant conservation techniques to reduce human elephant conflicts.