Photos Reveal Joyful Life of Baby Giraffe Rescued By Helicopter

Written by Jenn Bussell

In late March 2011, an orphaned baby reticulated giraffe, no more than a few days old with her umbilical cord still attached, was found roaming the grounds of a lodge closed for the season. Community scouts from the local Samburu Tribe spotted her and took her in. After a series of phone calls and some very quick thinking by Sue Roberts, proprietor of the Sirikoi Lodge on the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Laikipia, Kenya, a rescue effort nothing short of amazing was coordinated.

Nditu at one month old (Photo courtesty Sue Roberts)

Shaky and malnourished and far from Sirikoi, the most expedient way to safely transport the baby giraffe was via helicopter, taking a team of more than 10 people to prep her for the journey. While members of the Samburu tribe gently cradled her head, the team softly bandaged her eyes and bound her legs, essential for her safety and the safety of the crew.

Once at Sirikoi, it was all hands on deck to ensure baby Nditu (Kenyan for ‘young girl’) was cared for around the clock. For the first day, Nditu was fed only electrolytes in water to safeguard her from dehydration, a potential life-threatening situation for all wild animals when they’re first rescued, according to Sue Roberts.

Nditu was then slowly introduced to powdered cow’s milk formula and soon she was drinking two liters of formula three times a day. By the age of three months, Nditu was consuming 12 liters of milk per day plus eight raw eggs — talk about your power eating!

Baby Nditu enjoying one of many bottles from her caretakers at Sirikoi Lodge. (Photo credit: Sue Roberts)

In addition to proper food and nutrition, Nditu required a warm, dark and quiet area of her very own. A cozy stable next door to a foal named Twinkle was the perfect spot to acclimate Nditu to her newly adopted family. During Nditu’s first days at Sirikoi, the horses were terrified of this strange new creature, but they slowly accepted her as one of their own.

“Nditu was so smitten with all the horses at Sirikoi she quickly decided she must be one of them, following them around the grounds and even trying to join me on my daily rides, which she still enjoys today,” Sue added.

Nditu gets ready to escort Sirikoi guests on their afternoon horse ride. (Photo credit: Sue Roberts)

To make it easier for Nditu to get around with equine siblings, the Sirikoi team built a special giraffe gate just for her. This system also enables Nditu to wander off and meet other wild giraffes at the local watering hole, an essential developmental step for Nditu’s eventual release back into her natural habitat.

But before that day comes, Nditu continues to roam Sirikoi Lodge like she owns the place. She loves to stop and smell the roses, visit with her new giraffe boyfriend, check out what the guests are having for breakfast, and even sneak in the occasional peck on the cheek.
An Exclusive Look At Nditu’s Family Album

Enjoy more tender photos of Nditu growing up under the watchful eyes of her foster family. See the family album here.


Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Christine Stewart

Thank goodness for all the kind people who helped rescued this sweet baby!

Angela P.
Angie P3 years ago

They really are taking good care of this giraffe. What a nice life for the giraffe, and a nice story.

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe3 years ago

A big THANK YOU to Sue Roberts and her bunch for taking such good care of Nditu. She is a beauty!

Elizabeth Nipper
Beth Nipper3 years ago

Thank you for the happy story. :-)

Jennifer H.
Jennifer H3 years ago

Many thanks to all who rescued the baby girl. What a happy story. Thanks for sharing.

Donna F.
Donna F3 years ago

ty, ((((((((((((Animal Angels)))))))))))))

C H.
C H3 years ago

You had a helicopter instead of wings to be an ANGEL and save this magnificent baby girl. *A*W*E*S*O*M*E* job to all the hands that helped :) :) :)

federico bortoletto
federico b3 years ago

Grazie per la bella storia.

Mandy H.
Mandy H3 years ago

How sweet!