David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is a wildlife orphanage located within Nairobi National park and its main objective is to rescue and rehabilitate baby Elephants and Rhinos. The orphanage is today among the most successful wildlife rescue centers in the world. By the end of 2012, the center had successfully rescued and rehabilitated over 140 infant elephants.
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has a rich and deeply rooted family history in wildlife and conservation; it was established in 1977 by Dr Dame Daphne Sheldrick in honor and memory of her late husband David Sheldrick (a famous naturalist and founding Warden of Tsavo East National Park). The Trust has remained true to David Sheldrick core principles and ideals to protect wildlife and its habitat.
Normally orphan Elephants and Rhinos who are left behind by their mothers as a result of poaching, diseases or human related disasters; are rescued, hand reared by the dedicated keepers until they are 3 years old, then they are transferred to a holding center in Tsavo East National Park where they are slowly introduced to other wild Elephant.
The Center is open to the public every day between 11am - 12pm, on this hour; visitors walk in to the nursery area where they watch closely the younger baby elephants being hand feed by the keepers, hugging and playing with them. As this is happening, one of the keeper narrates the history of each elephant; their name, how old they are, how and where they were rescued from and what happened to the mother.
Feeding process begins with the youngest elephants less than 2 years, then they are taken back and the older once 2 – 3 years are brought out. Most of the older once feed themselves; it’s amazing to watch them hold their giant bottle of milk with their trunks gulping and closing their eyes to enjoy the milk.
The foster parents have a special visiting hour between 5pm - 6pm, here they are allowed to feed their own adapted elephant, play with them and as well learn more about them. And even after they are moved to Tsavo national park, the foster parents can also make special arrangements to visit and see how their baby elephant is doing.
it’s so touching to see how dedicated the keepers are; feeding the orphans every three hours, playing with them to keep them happy and healthy, cleaning and tidying up the area. This work requires huge efforts and finances; for just $50, you can adopt an orphan and directly support the noble project.
Once you become a foster parent, you will regularly be updates via e-mail on your orphan, get a biography copy of the orphan, an adoption certificate, a color painting of the orphan, and above all; you will make a difference to a baby elephant or rhino.
The Elephant Orphanage is located within Nairobi National Park, about 10 km from Nairobi city center, just off the Magadi road, opposite Multimedia University.