A 30-minute taxi ride from downtown Nairobi could take you off to a place where baby elephants get a second chance for a normal life thanks to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a rehabilitation center that is open to visitors. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust does not try to tame elephants, but aims to offer a safe place where orphaned elephants are fed, bathed, and protected until they are reintroduced into the wild when they are about two-years-old.
FROM G ADVENTURES
Viewing baby elephants this close in the wild is a dangerous proposition as there is always a protective mother around, weighing approximately 40 to 50 times that of a human, to bully off onlookers. Yet for an hour each day, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust opens its doors and allows visitors (for 500 Kenyan Shillings, or about $6 US) to experience the orphaned elephants you see above as they are bottle-fed and play in a mud bath.
David Sheldrick was the first warden in the Eastern Section of the newly minted Tsavo National Park in Kenya in 1948. His life’s pursuit was the conservation and protection of the wildlife inside the park and he was a pioneer of the study of elephant diets, a skill that grew out of his desire to aid orphaned elephants that had lost their mother to poachers. Along with his wife, Dr. Daphne Sheldrick, the couple rehabilitated rhinos, impalas, buffalo and many other animals, but it was the elephant herds, prized for their tusks, which received the most attention.
Today Dr. Sheldrick still lives and works at the Trust’s center just outside of Nairobi, Kenya. It is there that volunteers, signing up for 10 year stints with the trust, feed, bathe, care for and eventually reintroduce into the wild baby elephants brought in from around Kenya. “…Continue Reading
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Niki is currently exploring Asia while working on a children’s book series about travel. As a child, she traveled and moved often for her parents’ jobs. As a result of this, she has always felt most at home when she’s off and away. She is interested in international films, working on building an impressive tea collection, and can often be found with her camera in hand. You can have a look-see at her blog and follow her on Twitter @nikidding.
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