06/03/17 Latest News

Pictured: Bongo browsing the undergrowth.

We have received an update from Bongo’s dedicated keeper. In February a small party of ex-orphans returned to the stockade to see what was going on. In the afternoon, the Ex Orphans briefly joined the juniors and made away with Narok and Bongo off into the Park! The keepers realized later that the two had been snatched by the Ex Orphans and they tracked their footprints until dark but to no avail. Later when it was just after dark, Narok and Bongo returned back to the stockade after spending half the night out. Only time will tell if the experience they had was a nice one or if they decide they need more time to be with their human family! At some point Bongo will want to return to the wild, but it’s too early for that yet.


Update 10/01/17

We have extended the fostering programme for another 2 years. This cost $100 US (about £70). If you would like to make a donation to top this up even further then please go to our dedicated “Just Giving” page.

Update 15/08/16


We don’t know Bongo’s age for certain, but he’s probably about six now and has been in the unit nearly 3 years, but he’s acting tough and is not daunted by the visiting wild bull elephants at the mud hole. It’s very hot in the bush this time of year, and when the bulls appear in the morning for their water and roll-around, the other young elephants give them plenty of space and sit in the shade until they have gone. But not Bongo! He dives straight in; he’s the small one with his back to us in the photo above.

Another year goes by

Another year goes by and Bongo is still being a bit naughty. Recently he acquired a new (younger) friend.

Rearing the orphaned elephants is an emotional rollercoaster involving a great deal of heartbreak and sadness but also the reward of amazing successes. On the 13th of October, arguably one of the greatest of them all was when Wendi, orphaned in 2002 as a new-born herself, returned to the Ithumba midday mud bath with her very own minute wild born baby at her heels and a touching desire to share the joy of her baby with her erstwhile human family of Keepers. This joy was shared by all the ex-orphans, including Bongo, along with over twenty five wild elephant friends who have been her constant escort since the birth of little Wiva. More details about Wendi’s wild born baby can be viewed here. We have also had reports that Bongo still goes missing from time to time. This is from the October Keeper’s Report:

The month began with truants Bongo and Kanjoro missing from the dependent group when it was time to return home for the evening. Following a long search, the Keepers decided to return to the stockades without them due to the late hour. In the middle of the night both returned escorted back by ex-orphan, big boy Rapsu. At day break there they were, patiently waiting for their morning milk feed.

News from the Ithumba Rehabilition Unit

News from the Ithumba Rehabilition Unit:

“Ithumba has been transformed after the rains with the orphans’ waterhole now full of rain water enabling the orphans to swim, totally submerged which they love. The dependent babies which consist of Bongo, Bomani, Garzi, Kandecha, Kanjoro, Kasigau, Kainuk, Kilibasi, Laragai, Makireti, Mutara, Narok, Orwa, Shukuru, Sities, Teleki, Turkwel and wonderfully friendly little Vuria, are joined most days by the ex orphans and interestingly enough many wild friends who have chosen to remain in the area despite the rains. This is unusual with the bountiful food throughout the region and with every waterhole filled.

The Ithumba massif with its imposing granite cliff faces and plunging valleys is looking more beautiful than usual with every baobab in leaf, every delonix tree in flower, cascading creepers spilling off shrubs and the exquisite mauve pentanisia flowers in abundance everywhere. The Ithumba orphans enjoy a paradise during the rainy season. Suguta’s group which consists of Chemi Chemi, Ishanga, Kalama, Kibo, Kilaguni, Kitirua, Melia, Murka, Naisula, Olare, Suguta, Tumaren, and Chaimu is spending much more time united with the ex orphans and the whole Ithumba family remain in close orbit to the stockade compound, visiting almost daily. More details from November, along with stunning images taken by the Keepers as they walk supervising the dependent babies every day out in the wild can be enjoyed through the summary and the Keepers diary.

Just in!

Just in! These are the latest photos from Kenya.

This first one (above) shows Bongo enjoying an early evening hose-down watched by Wendi


Here he is, running away again!


Time for a munch!

Bongo has been very naughty!

Bongo has been very naughty! On the evening of Tuesday 22 April he and his mates Mutara, Kanjoro & Sities were allowed to leave the stockade and go for a wallow in the mudhole. When it was time to go home Bongo dodged the keepers and could not be traced. The keepers eventually had to call off the search as it became too dark – Bongo spent the night out! The next morning he was found outside the gates with a sheepish grin on his face……

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