SHELDRICK ANIMAL ORPHANAGE
There are few things cuter than seeing a clumsy baby elephant playing around in the mud, and when that elephant is one who has been given a second chance at life, it makes the moment so much more special. That is the magic and draw of the Sheldrick elephant orphanage. The orphan project is part of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, an organisation started in 1977 by Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick, in memory of her husband, former warden of Tsavo East National Park.
The orphanage is a rescue and rehabilitation centre, with the goal of releasing elephants who have been orphaned as a result of the current poaching crisis, back into the wild. It is the most successful program of its kind, having released 150 elephants back into the wild. Elephants are currently listed as a vulnerable species, with about 400,000 remaining in Africa. The biggest threat to poaching is for their Ivory, it is estimated that 100 African elephants are killed by poachers every day. Currently more elephants are being poached each year, than are being born, making places like the Sheldrick elephant orphanage vital in the survival of the species! Every orphan who can be saved and given the chance at life, can make a huge difference in the quest to save elephants!
The orphanage is located in Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi. It is open to the public daily from 11-12 when orphans are brought out by the keepers, fed and given time to play around in the mud pool. Alternatively, you can ‘adopt and elephant’ and get the chance to see the elephants come in from Nairobi National Park for their dinner and to spend the night at the centre under protection from predators and poachers. At each event, staff will speak to everyone about the work the Sheldrick Wildlife trust is doing, as well as give you the story behind each of the orphans currently at the centre. A visit to the orphanage will not only support the care required for the elephants you see that day, but also for the elephants at the second stage release site, located in Tsavo East National Park. Funds from the orphanage also help the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust with their other conservation efforts, including anti-poaching procedures, education and community awareness projects, veterinary assistance, and protection of the natural environment. A visit to Nairobi wouldn’t be complete without visiting this amazing organisation.