Rescuing Baby Elephant Pili

Alex Walker’s Serian posted a recent blog about a pretty extraordinary rescue of a baby elephant. Sofi Sosa Del Valle, a manager at Serian’s Mara Camps, found a one-month old baby elephant stuck in tree roots along the Mara River. Mara Elephant Project’s CEO Marc Goss and rangers were involved in this baby’s journey to David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s (DSWT) orphanage. “Pili” as they called him after the tree roots he was found in, immediately latched on to the humans that rescued him and his connection and trust in them was quite amazing to see.


“Pili” was extremely thirsty and accepted water from Sofi.

Serian, like many camps in the Mara, is a partner with MEP. They knew to call Marc right away and ask for advice. Sofi met Marc in 2016 at a Mara North Conservancy manager’s meeting where he was giving a presentation on MEP’s mission. She said that though he made it clear MEP only intervened in cases of poaching or human-elephant conflict, this was truly an exceptional case.

“A situation like the one we experienced with “Pili” makes things go on fast forward mode and that meant reaching out to a project with experience and a working force with the necessary tools to help.” Sofi Sosa Del Valle

MEP deployed a ranger team and Marc used unmanned aerial vehicles to try and locate the herd to spot the baby’s mom, but she was never found. As the day progressed the decision needed to be made to call in an aircraft from Nairobi to collect the baby elephant.

Sofi with “Pili “crossing the river. 



In the end, it was determined the best route was to send “Pili” to DSWT’s orphanage (picture shows him adjusting to his new life) where he’ll have access to rich formula that will hopefully save his life. Mara Elephant Project has worked hard since 2011 to have a close relationship with the camps in the Mara.




“You can’t put a price on it. The conservancies that surround the Mara are young and developing and to have an organization that is working side by side with rangers, community, and tourism partners as the conservancies grow is unbeatable. We can’t put up a fight with poaching unless there are people in the field willing to track and monitor these elephants. We certainly can’t put a stop to the growth of a developing community, we’re living side by side with giants –and we need to learn how to live together.” Sofi Sosa Del Valle