top of page


The bond between a baby elephant and its mother is a fierce, loving and protective one. So, what happens when a baby loses its mother and has to be raised by a man instead?

Filmed over three years, Orphan tells the extraordinary story of Toto, a baby Kenyan elephant whose life is irreversibly changed when his mother is killed. Just a few days old, he is brought to Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s neo-natal unit by other elephants who, incredibly, know that the orphanage is a safe place for him to be raised.

It’s also the story of Joseph, the man dedicated to saving him. An orphan himself, Joseph must become Toto’s surrogate mother. For the next three precarious, uncertain and drama-filled years, Joseph will be there 24 hours a day, to comfort, nurture and feed Toto. He must teach him everything he needs to know about being an elephant, until he’s old enough to join others in the wild.

As we witness Toto taking his first tentative steps back to the wilderness he came from, we’ll be introduced to an extraordinary world filled with elephants that have been raised by keepers like Joseph but now live completely independent lives alongside truly wild herds.

Through them we’ll witness jaw-dropping never-before-seen elephant behaviour that will challenge everything we thought we knew about these majestic, vulnerable creatures… and ourselves.

Executive Producer Wendy Rattray said: “Toto is a delightful little elephant who will melt even the hardest of hearts as he fights for his survival against the odds, makes new elephant friends that will eventually become his family, and navigates the complexities of elephant behaviours. Through him we’ll see the most astonishing events unfold that will make look at elephants in a whole new light.”

The project is supported by Screen Scotland and The Chantecaille Conservation Foundation. Orphan, a single film for BBC Two and iPlayer, is made by Hello Halo.


bottom of page