When we first laid eyes on Doldol, we were taken aback by her petite frame. She was the tiniest orphan we had ever come across, and it seemed like she was born earlier than expected. It was clear that her mother left her during delivery because of some disruption or unexpected event.
Doldol, a baby calf, found herself orphaned on the 23rd of November 2021 in Dol Dol, a town located on the northern border of the Laikipia Plateau in Kenya. The chilly weather conditions at night due to alpine air from Mount Kenya made it a tough environment for her, especially as a newborn calf. Fortunately, a kind-hearted member of the community took her in, offering warmth and safety in his boma overnight. The following day, the calf was transported to Kaluku Neonate Nursery – our specialized facility for rescuing vulnerable animals.
Looking after a baby elephant that has been orphaned is definitely not a walk in the park, especially when the little one arrives prematurely. In order to tackle this difficulty, we placed the responsibility of caring for Doldol on Mishak – one of our most experienced Keepers. Mishak has been taking care of elephants for over three decades and has successfully raised many challenging orphaned cases. He is loved by all the elephants he encounters. Doldol formed a quick bond with Mishak and would follow him around everywhere. At first, she even demanded that Mishak sleep right next to her at night, so he had to sleep on the ground. Fortunately, after a few months, she grew out of this habit.
Doldol, along with her adoptive parent Mishak, has grown her Keeper family by welcoming two new members named Peter and Jonas. She has also added two new neonate rescues to her orphan herd. Despite being the only child for a long time, Doldol has warmly accepted the newcomers and enjoys being the leader of her mini herd. With her tiny trunk up and heart-shaped ears wide open, she leads her herd with great purpose. Although she is still a miniature elephant, she is slowly growing bigger. While she may always be petite, it’s good to know that she won’t remain small forever! Doldol has earned the nickname “little beetle” since her arrival, and it still suits her quite well. With her small, round body, protruding eyes, and heart-shaped ears that flap like wings, she buzzes around with great purpose, constantly investigating like an insect.
Let’s chat about Doldol, the sweet queen beetle that has captured our affection! It’s truly special to witness an elephant’s journey from the beginning. Doldol’s tale is quite exceptional – despite being abandoned as a newborn, she overcame adversity and survived. With her whole life ahead of her, this captivating creature is sure to amaze us even more.