Elephant orphan rescue, rehabilitation and release to the wild
Who are they: The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust was established in 1977 to honour the memory of a famous Naturalist, David Leslie William Sheldrick MBE, the founder Warden of Tsavo East National Park in Kenya. Dame Daphne Sheldrick was the first person in the entire world to successfully hand rear newborn, fully milk dependent, African Elephant orphans. By the year 2008 the Trust had successfully saved and hand-reared over 82 infant African Elephant calves.
What do they do:The Trust has trained a team of competent Elephant Keepers who replace the orphans’ lost elephant family until such time as the transition to the wild herds has been accomplished, something that can take up to l0 years, since elephant calves duplicate their human counterparts in terms of development through age progression. Those that were orphaned too young to recall their elephant family remain dependent longer, but all the Trust’s orphans eventually take their rightful place amongst their wild counterparts, including those orphaned on the day they were born.
How does WildiZe help them: provided funding for the construction of the Tsavo Northern Area (Ithumba) elephant stockade and release site, and water catchment tanks at the Ithumba KWS HQ, in conjunction with our grantee Danny Woodley, KWS Sr. Warden, previous to 2006 he was headquartered at Ithumba, and now is headquartered at Kamboyo in Tsavo West.
Results: Water tank construction completed in 2006, along with fully functional elephant stockade in Inthumba, where the older elephant calves are transferred from the Nairobi based Nursery.
Based at Nairobi National Park the infants are cared for through the gradual process of re-integration and socialization, where as they grow they are translocated to two estrablished Elephant Rehabilitation Centers within Tsavo East National Park, Voi and Ithumba.
Currently over 40 of these hand-reared elephants are fully established and living free amongst their wild peers in Tsavo, some even returning with wild born young to show their erstwhile human family!
©Photos courtesy of Sheldrick Trust