Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage

Especially elephants are threatened by poaching and the illegal trade in meat and ivory, whereby they are killed and leave behind their babies and young animals who cannot survive without the mother or the herd. If gamekeepers would not find them on time and bring them to Sheldrick’s orphanage they would die of hunger within a short time or become easy prey to predators.

Since 1955 more than 80 African elephant calves had been successfully saved and were hand-reared in Sheldrick’s elephant orphanage. Infant African elephants are exceedingly fragile in the first two years of life and need mother’s milk to survive. The composition of the fat content of elephant’s milk is very different from that of cow’s milk which an infant elephant cannot tolerate. Therefore, it was impossible for many years to save elephants aged less than two years. Over a long time period of trial and error Daphne Sheldrick succeeded as the first person in the entire world in developing a special milk formula for milk dependent African elephant orphans in the 1970’s.

After the infant elephants are separated from their family, either by poachers, diseases or other strokes of fate, they are brought in a bad physical and traumatized condition to the orphanage. The nursing staff and elephant keepers take care of them 24 hours around the clock which is vital for their survive. They are fed and taught until they are relocated to the Elephant Rehabilitation Center within Tsavo East National Park after approximately two years. There they are learning step by step how they survive in the wilderness. It can last up to ten years until the young animals are integrated in the wild herds since elephant calves duplicate their human counterparts in terms of development through age progression. The oldest elephant orphan in Tsavo East National Park is a cow called ‘Eleanor’ older than 45 years today. She comes from a time when Daphne closely worked together with her husband David who already died in 1976. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust was founded by his wife to honor and continue his work in Tsavo East National Park.

The best way to support the project is to ‘adopt’ an elephant orphan by paying a yearly fostering fee. Foster parents will receive an adoption certificate and as preferred guests they will get the permission to visit the orphanage out of public viewing times as well as the Elephant Rehabilitation Center within Tsavo East National Park.

Papa Musili Safaris Ltd. supports the orphanage by providing excursions to clients already including the amount of an ‘adoption’ of an elephant.