‘’We live in a beautiful world full of nature’s wonders. There is no end to the trails we can take, especially if we keep our curiosity abound and our tread light.”- Sandra Elvin.
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is a Kenyan wildlife conservation charity aimed at reintegrating orphaned elephants (and rhinos) back into the Kenyan wildlife. It is the most successful orphan- elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world.
Mostly when an elephant is orphaned, it is because the parents have been humbled by the brutality of poaching. Here is a place to witness the care and love the trust has for its baby elephants (and rhinos), learning about the conservation of the calves and how they were rescued from all over the world.
The trust is located along Magadi Road, Opposite Multimedia University. It is open to the public only between 11am and 12pm.
The experience we had was a heart- warming one. After entering at 11am, we alongside other tourists were ushered into a small viewing area centered on a muddy watering hole. A few minutes later, the animal handlers walked in with the baby elephants. A glorious site to behold! It looked like a marching squad. Our hearts literally melted upon this view of the little masterpieces of nature. Our eyes were glaring and we could not stop smiling. The fact that we saw elephants up close was so unreal and breathtaking. We fell in love.
For the first few minutes, the elephants are treated to bottled milk before heading to the waterhole. Once they have drunk to their fill, they proceed to romp around like the little babies that they are and take a mud bath. The mud bath experience is incredibly fun!
The mud bath for the elephants is important, especially for the little ones. It not only cools them down, but also provides a protective layer to protect their skins from the sun’s rays. Elephants have sparse hair on their bodies, so they can actually get sun-burnt, especially the little ones with very sensitive skins.
While they still gambol around, an educative talk is given on the individual orphans and how they were rescued. A comprehensive explanation is also given on the projects that the Sheldrick’s Trust is involved in. There is also the chance to adopt an elephant!
After that, you have the luxury of touching and taking amazing photos with the elephants. Keep your guard though, as the little guys are known to spray the mud onto one or two tourists! We were given roughly fifteen minutes to marvel at this art.
To adopt an elephant, one is required to use the online fostering program available on the Trust’s website. The fostering fee is a minimum of $50 per year. With the completion of the process, you earn yourself:
- A fostering certificate
- An interactive map indicating where the orphan was found
- A keeper’s diary for your elephant
- Regular updates on new arrivals and most importantly,
- You become part of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, in supporting their vision of protecting endangered and vulnerable wildlife species.
The orphans come from all corners of the country, so they are usually given ethnic or tribal names! For more information on these, kindly visit the website and furnish yourself with details.
It is sad imagining the profound loss to be without elephants not only to the ecosystem, but also to our own basic understanding of the natural world and our place in it. Indeed, there are no walls between humans and elephants, except those that we build ourselves. Until we allow not only elephants but all living creatures their place under the sun, then we cannot be whole ourselves!
We therefore urge all our ardent readers to say a hearty yes to the experience at the David Sheldrick’s Trust Fund. Your visit equals your support to the wildlife trust!
We have a lot to learn from animals, than animals have to learn from us.
Written by Esther Opiyo (ess_opiyo) on instagram
Photography by Tony (pixelinc photography) on instagram