Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Nairobi, Kenya

On the outskirts of Nairobi - right at the edge of Nairobi National Park - the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has built a safe haven where elephant calves who have lost everything find a new family and rebuild their future.

Every single elephant you see in these images is an orphan, be it due to starvation, dehydration because of draughts, human-inflicted injuries, habitat loss or poaching of family members. Many of the rescues are so compromised from the circumstances, that they can barely move, let alone lift their trunks. That’s where the Keepers come in, wonderful individuals who dedicate their lives to getting these young elephants back on their legs again. They offer individualised care for each baby to make sure they feel protected from the elements, from coating their fragile bodies in dust and applying sunscreen to their delicate ears, to sleeping with them overnight in stables so they can be fed every 3 hours with fresh milk.

Here at the Nursery an incredible bond built on love and trust is forged between the babies and the ‘Keepers’ who protect and nurture them. It’s the first formative step in an elephant orphan’s journey back to the wild and it’s purely because of the Keepers, that they get a second chance in life. The baby elephants remain in the nursery for around 3-4 years until they are strong enough to graduate to the next stage of the reintegration process in the Tsavo Conservation area.

Ever since its inception in 1986, the Nursery successfully raised 316 orphaned elephants and 17 orphaned rhino’s. As a result of that so far 55 babies have been born to wild-living orphaned elephants. A truly remarkable story of hope, resilience, faith and what can be achieved if people work together.

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