Our first day in Kenya, Rob and I had the pleasure of visiting the David Sheldrick Wildlife Orphan Trust, also known as the Elephant Orphanage. Visiting the shelter was obviously a great experience for us as we got to see over 20 young elephants up close, but the shelter is mainly there for the animals and it has saved hundreds of orphaned elephants over the years.
As elephants actually take about as long as humans to grow up (they grow up at about 17!) , they are not able to survive without their mothers for the first few years of their lives. Sadly a lot of elephants are left orphaned, especially due to poaching – the mother is killed for her ivory and the baby left to die, terrible! :(The David Sheldrick Wildlife Orphan Trust started saving baby elephants already in 1952, and the project is still alive today – devoted to save these amazing animals.
We spent around one hour watching as the keepers fed the elephants, and told us the stories of how they saved them for various reasons, how they are doing now and so on. It was really great watching as the elephants played with each other and we got to pat and play with them whenever they got close to the rope we were standing behind.
It is also possible to adopt an elephant, donating a set amount to the shelter every month. You will then receive e-mails with updates about the elephant you select. You can find more information about how to do this, and about the shelter in general on the shelters offical website: http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org.
And now, more pictures of the adorable elephants: