The baby elephant was rescued after being abandoned in a well in a very critical condition, crying for his mother, in need of care and pain. The night before he had lost a third of his trunk to a hyena.

The baby elephant was rescued after being abandoned in a well in a very critical condition, crying for his mother, in need of care and pain. The night before he had lost a third of his trunk to a hyena.

Today, exactly two years ago, Long’uro was rescued from a well where he was stuck overnight and attacked by hyenas who left him with only one-third of his trunk.

His story is one of hope, courage and resilience. But also, a story that is groundbreaking, unprecedented and extraordinary!

Against all odds, Long’uro has adapted to life as a special-needs elephant and with each milestone, he is redefining and showing the world what is possible. Day by day, he is changing how we think about conservation and animal behaviour.

Yet, the real story still lies ahead…! His journey of how he will become a wild elephant bull. If there’s one thing we learned these past 24 months, it is that Long’uro will lead the way. We hope you too will join us on his journey by supporting him.

Every rescue is tough… but, the 18th April 2020 was unlike any rescue we had ever seen.

Our team got a report late at night of a seriously injured and abandoned little calf, approximately 1.5 months old, who had fallen into a well in Loisaba Conservancy. He was found in a very critical state, crying out for his mother,  cared and in pain. The calf had lost a third of its trunk to a hyena the previous night.

Vets from Kenya Wildlife Service and Reteti were immediately rushed to the scene, to help save the calf from the excess bleeding and possibly death. A trunk is an elephant’s most versatile tool, it practically uses it for everything , and our little baby was left fighting for his life.

Out of his struggle to breath, a discussion arose of a possibility of euthanasia. We could not allow it! We are hopeful, and convinced he deserved the chance at life, after all he had already survived a hyena attack! The Reteti team will favour the brave!


The plane flew directly to Reteti, and Long’uro was placed in a stable that had been specially prepared for him and with all new coming calfs the team and elephants awaited his arrival.

He was named Long’uro which means something that has been cut in Samburu.


Long’uro’s first days at Reteti

In less than 24 hours Mary Lengees had established a powerful bond with Long’uro. She is one of the first women keepers at Reteti, she is patient and has a wealth of experience when it comes to caring for baby elephants. Despite Long’uro being deeply traumatised – he remarkably never fell into depression – like many other baby elephants who suffered trauma often do. He had a willingness within.

As his brain had not yet adjusted to his trunk no longer being there, Long’uro would often bump into things or would reach up to scratch where his trunk had once been. The smallest impact caused him to shriek and yelp with pain. Mary was faced with a tremendous challenge. Long’uro desperately needed love and tenderness, but he was scared of contact because it caused him physical pain. They developed a special bond – which they still share to this day.

In the following months, Mary dedicated her entire existence to Long’uro – caring for him as if he is her own son. She became his mother and an integral part of his journey.



Long’uro’s Surgery

When all logic had suggested that an elephant calf which had been rescued from a well whilst separated from its herd, and whose trunk had been torn off by hyenas during the night was not considered capable of survival, it was the community at Reteti in northern Kenya which disagreed

Shortly after his arrival at Reteti, the veterinarian team from Kenya Wildlife Services prepared for Long’uro’s surgery. The vet surgeon carefully cleaned his wounds, removed loose and torn skin, and neatly closed the wounds and gashes on his short trunk.

In the days following the surgery, Mary kept the wounds clean and the veterinarian would visit regularly to check on his progress.

Looking back today, it’s a miracle that Long’uro, despite the wounds to his trunk, face and ears, never got a bacterial infection.



His first year at Reteti

Shortly after Long’uro’s arrival, two other baby elephants joined the nursery: Lomunyak and Sera. The three quickly became best of friends and inseparable.

Long’uro quickly shows us he is not only a warrior but also a bubbly, bouncy and sometimes boisterous little character. With his new found friends, playing was top of the agenda every day.

The physical and mental scars were fast fading away, especially for Long’uro and Lomunyak (who nearly drowned after surviving a lion attack!)

But, Long’uro often forgot that he didn’t have a trunk anymore and he bumped his nose ALL the time. Each bump would be followed by his little yelps of pain. It was heartbreaking and everyone was trying to figure out the best thing to do.

He has weathered countless storms and demonstrated unrivalled resilience in his fight for survival and we knew he would figure this out.

Long’uro along with Lomunyak and Sera, were the first three elephants that started using our unique goat milk. The milk had a tremendous effect on their rehabilitation and they are still on goat milk today – including 15 other elephants


Long’uro Today

It’s been remarkable to see how beautifully Long’uro’s trunk has healed and how he has adapted to life as a special-needs elephant.

Long’uro is growing and so is his ability to browse out in the wild. We are so happy to see him getting the hang of feeding himself whilst out on bush walks with the keepers and the rest of the elephant orphans. More recently he has learnt to splash water on himself and also eat seed pods off the ground.



Long’uro still has a smashing sense of smell! Elephants’ olfactory receptors that detect odors are located in the upper nasal cavity. He is also not smaller than his counterparts – in fact, his growth has been the same as Sera and Lomunyak who were also rescued in April 2020.

We know Long’uro has a long journey ahead of him, more challenging than most, but he has already shown us his ability to adapt to a new deformity, he has shown us his willingness to trust and learn from the other keepers and orphaned elephants .

We can’t help but feel he will teach us a huge amount about elephants and their kind spirit, their intricate herd structure and ability to look after each other.

We celebrate his courage and his optimistic and intrepid personality. His life represents so much, to the community, to the keepers, to conservation globally

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