When life is colored black

7 february 2006 Orok made his appearance in the orphanage.
Orok was 18 months old when he was rescued in Amboseli National Park.
Very likely Oroks mother had became ill which caused her dead due to consequenses of the severe drought. Elephant-expert Cynthia Moss lives over 30 years in Amboseli National Park and after research for such a long time she knows all about 1200 elephants spread over 53 families, including Orok and his family. Cynthia was also the one who alarmed the orphanage about Oroks delicate and vulnerable situation which lead to his rescue. The first week after his mama died Orok stayed within his herd and they went across the border to Serengeti National park in Tanzania. His family gave him all love and care only they couldn’t feed him the highly necessarily milk.
Two weeks later Orok was seen again in the remarkable company of another total strange herd the AA herd in Amboseli, not his family! This renewed situation made Oroks future very uncertain. The fact that Orok was no longer in the presence of his family was very remarkable in the first place. Most likely no one of his own family had the ability to take care of the young orphan. It was now three weeks since Orok lost his mama and became orphaned. He was desperately trying to find a connection with another herd so he was no longer alone. This wasn’t hopeful for his future. Strange herds rarely adopt babyelephants from a different herd. The best chance for Orok to save his future was to rescue him and bring him to the orphanage.After the call made by Cynthia Moss, the DSWT team flew in to pick up Orok.

Only his rescue developed very traumatic for the little guy. The KWS and DSWT couldn’t pick him up as Orok was still in the company of the strange herd being in the swamps where they stayed all night. Next morning the DSWT rescue team decided to try to take action and they tried to separate little Orok from the herd. By isolating him they could catch him to load him in the truck. That was the plan .The truck could then bring him to the airplane. Problem in rescuing Orok was the fact that he was not a tiny baby anymore. Despite his young age of 18 months Orok was quite feisty and heavy which made it more complicated for the team to catch him. Other problem was that Orok was just few months to young and milk dependent to go to be brought to the stockades in Voi or Ithumba so he had to be brought to Nairobi instead. With the greatest efforts the rangers tried to seperate orok from the herd. By following and surrounding him with the jeeps. Orok was scared and kept running for his life in the direction of the herd they were trying to seperate him from. After a long exhausting pursuit the rangers finally managed to isolate Orok from the herd . Despite being exhausted Orok kept fighting and struggling for his life.

In the orphanage the keeper had to deal with most angry baby with the most spirited of them all. The loss of his mama, being haunted by the rescue team, the new strange environment it was all too much for Orok. He was traumatized and angry, very angry and let everyone seen how angry he was. The keepers were so scared of him that no one dared to enter his stable and spent the night with him to comfort him, which is normal with all the babies. Orok attacked everyone and everything who dared to come close to him. Only for the keeper with the milk he made an exception but as soon as Orok finished his milk that keeper better start running.
Oroks anger was aimed at humans mostly, he hated them from the bottom of his heart.
Almost all orphans love to wear their colored blankets which give them comfort, something familiar that pleases them.

Orok (photo credit DSWT)

Orok didn’t accept them at all! Blankets? Go away with those blankets! Orok hated the blankets so much he ripped them of his body and stomped his blanket to the ground. He did this with every blanket the saw, he even pulled the blankets off from the other orphans. Orok hated them all, he hated humans, he hated his life, he hated what was happened with him he hated the entire world.

Oroks young innocent soul was colored so black from anger, grieve and pain that he could do nothing else than to ‘kill’ all the blankets.

The keepers let him go with the knowledge that Orok was covered in a dark world due to the trauma he suffered from. Only way to heal was to let him express himself the way he did, and by giving him time and patience and to surround him with love and care.
All orphans that were robbed by Orok from their blankets got always a new one. That happened out of sight from Orok. The laundry service and washing machine-made a lot of overtime with a daily load of all the ‘murdered by Orok’ blankets.
Daphne Sheldrick saw something positive in Orok namely that he didn’t push away his feelings and let all and everything come out. Blankets don’t feel pain as long as he didn’t attack other orphans they let him be. Orok didn’t attack any other orphan only blankets and his keepers, humans!

Orok was a fighter both mentally and physically. The only way to be able to move on and have a future, to start his long journey back to the wild again was to go through all emotions.
When Orok was in the company of other orphans this black colored little guy changed within seconds. Then the sun started shining through his dark-colored little soul and Orok a lot happier. He bonded with the shy and calm Sidai. She was in behavior the opposite of Orok. Sidai was sad, had to deal with her own trauma and loss. Sidai was silent, serene, almost invisible. It was like if she held a mirror for Orok as she had zero aggression and was very thankful to her keepers who saved her life twice. This thankfulness and gratefulness towards her keepers who she loved so much.

Sidai showed Orok that he now was in a safe place and he didn’t need to be aggressive anymore. Those two opposite characters started to bond for life. 

Sidai knew how to calm down the wild Orok. They became neighbours at nigh which was such a relieve for everyone as finally Orok started to sleep at night instead of ‘killing’ his nightstable.
The carpenter was happy too. Since Oroks arrival he has made a lot of overtime because every day he had to renew the timber shelves in Oroks stable.

Sidai gave Orok a warm color on his damaged soul, every day more and more. The black color changed slightly in a sunny yellow happy soul. Only those blankets….. Orok kept hating them anyway and tried to ‘kill’ them as soon as he had the chance.

Lualeni, Sian, Orok, Sidai

Orok really tamed down when he arrived in Ithumba where he met the older Nasalot. Nasalot opened her young heart and reached out to him from the first minute the two of them met each other.
For the first time since the loss of his mama and he became orphaned, Orok felt the love and protection almost exactly the same way as he remembered from his own mama. Nasalot and Orok became inseparable. Nasalot was as close as his own mother for Orok,

and that was all he wanted and needed, a mama who loves him.
Oroks soul never colored black anymore.
The name Orok means in Maasai language: ‘Black’!
Orok is named after the place where he was born amongst black palms in the Maasai area on the foot of the Kilimanjaro, nearby the border with Tanzania.

Orok as seniororphan photocredit DSWT

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