The Sheldrick Wildlife trust in Kenya is the world’s most successful elephant orphan rescue and rehabilitation program.
This was the first program of its kind. They also help with the conservation and preservation of the elephant’s natural environment. As well as their protection against poachers.
Although best known for their work with elephants, the Sheldrick Wildlife trust also assists in the protection of all wildlife across Kenya.
The program has been running for over 40 years.
This program has proven to be successful by providing the following five elements – Rescue, Recovery, Reintegration, Treatment and Protection.
Rescue – The Sheldrick Wildlife team rescue and hand rear elephant, rhino and giraffe orphans.
Recovery – The Nairobi nursery is a safe haven for the orphans to learn and grow.
Reintegration – When the orphans are ready, they are moved to the reintegration units. From here they are reintegrated back into the wild.
Treatment – Working alongside the Kenya Wildlife Service they save and treat sick and injured animals.
Protection – Rangers, tracker dogs and aerial units watch over the animals and habitats.
Sheldrick Wildlife trust history
David and Daphne Sheldrick started their wildlife conservation mission way back in 1948.
Back then, David was the founding warden of Tsavo National Park and there was no infrastructure there. He developed the area by building roads, a causeway and establishing 287 kms of anti poaching tracks.
During this time they both successfully rehabilitated many injured and orphaned wild animals.
Daphne was also the first person to perfect a milk formula suitable for milk dependant infant elephants. She discovered that coconut oil was the closest substitute for the fat in a mother elephant’s milk.
Unfortunately in 1977, at the age of 57, David suffered from an untimely heart attack.
That same year, in memory of her late husband, Daphne started the David Sheldrick Wildlife trust.
Daphne continued to live and work at the Nairobi National park until her death in 2018.
In 2019 the organisation was rebranded to the Sheldrick Wildlife trust to honour both David and Daphne.
Visiting the Nairobi nursery
If you’re ever in Nairobi, Kenya you can visit the Sheldrick Wildlife trust and see firsthand the amazing work that they do!
The nursery and Sheldrick head office is located inside Nairobi National park.
Between 11am- 12pm there is a public visiting hour. Here you can witness the orphans getting bottle fed, enjoying a mud bath or soil dusting.
The keepers also give a talk and tell stories about the elephant’s rescues and progress.
Entry to the visiting hour is $US7 or 500 Kenyan shillings contribution.
But if you’re an adoptive parent you can also attend at 5pm, when the elephants return to their stockades.
This is exclusively for adopters only. In these visits the adopters get a more personal experience with the orphans.
It also allows adopters to see the elephants return from their big day in the forest. Then receiving their evening milk feed before bedtime.
It’s highly recommended to book your visit in advance. The number of visitors are limited to enhance both the experience for the adopters and well-being of the elephants.
After wrapping up our 25 day safari in Nairobi, we just had to visit our recently adopted orphan Roho!
When we visited, it was our last full day in Africa. As well as our last animal experience of the trip… And it definitely did not disappoint.
When you first arrive, you’re taken past the stockades and lined up along a path.
After everyone is in postion all the elephants start making their way back from the forest.
I nearly cried watching the elephants march past us on their way back to their stockades.
It was so great to see them look so happy, returning home for their nightly feed.
Then when all the elephants are safely in their stockade, you’re free to walk around and visit all the orphans.
At one point Roho put up his lil trunk to say hi to us. As did a few others.
I honestly do not know how people can hurt these wonderful creatures.
A couple of the elephants were playing with water, and one even sprayed us from a hole in her trunk!
We spent the whole hour here and are some of the last to leave.
Seeing all these baby elephants up so close was amazing. The African elephant is such a beautiful creature!
This was definitely a highlight of an already spectacular overlanding trip and a great way to finish it!
It was such a heart warming experience to witness these animals up close.
The Sheldrick Wildlife trust do so much for all the wildlife in the East African region. And I’m so grateful we got to see it firsthand.
Want to help this worthy cause?
Well by adopting an orphan you can do just that!…
Sheldrick Wildlife trust offers a digital adoption program, complete with adoption certificate and monthly updates on your orphan!
As well as access to the keepers diaries and downloadable photos. A $US50 donation will get you one year of adoption. Which is a year full of cute photos 🐘❤️🐘!!!!
The donations from adoptions are used to provide vet treatment and round the clock care for the orphans.
Did you know that the keepers actually sleep in the stockades with their elephants? Sounds like they have the best job in the world ❤️
These donations also cover the costs of rescue transport, milk and food, keepers salaries, stockade upgrades and maintenance.
For more on orphan adoption or their great work, check out their website 🐘🐘🐘