The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is a little heaven on earth for elephant lovers. The trust works across Kenya to secure safe havens for wildlife, especially elephants and rhinos but is not limited to animals alone, they protect the diverse flora and fauna, which create stunning natural beauty in the park.
After each orphan rescue, the long and complex process of rehabilitation begins at the DSWT’s Nursery nestled within the Nairobi National Park. For milk-dependent elephant calves, it is here, during this crucial phase, where they are cared for and healed both emotionally and physically by the DSWT’s dedicated team of elephant keepers who take on the role and responsibility of becoming each orphan’s adopted family during their rehabilitation.
The History of David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust was established in the year 1977 to honor the memory of a famous Naturalist, David Leslie William Sheldrick MBE -a great man whose foresight and planning ability can be witnessed today in one of the world’s greatest National Parks, Tsavo East.
Since its inception, the Trust has remained true to the passion, principles, and ideals of David Sheldrick. Its operations are overseen Daphne Sheldrick, a Board of Trustees, an Advisory Committee and a team of competent Keepers – highly qualified, with a lifetime experience of wildlife and history of conservation in Kenya. Though the Trust does a lot, it has been particularly successful in saving, hand-rearing and re-integrating over 82 infant African Elephant calves.
Daphne Sheldrick, David’s wife, was the first person in the entire world to successfully hand rear newborn fully milk dependent African Elephant orphans, something that spanned 28 years of trial and error to achieve. Her work through the years has received praise from many, including U.N.E.P.’s elite Global 500 Roll of Honour; Honorary Doctorate from Glasgow University; Moran of the Burning Spear (M.B.S.) from the Kenya Government; a Lifetime Achievement Award from B.B.C; and decorations from Queen Elizabeth II including the ‘Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire’, just to name a few!
About Davide Sheldrick Trust
The David Sheldrick trust can be accessed through the Banda Gate of the Nairobi National Park. The setup is a roped off area with a centered mud pool where the baby elephants play. Although there are several trained keepers present, the elephants run around, some kicking a small ball, some wrestling, and others sliding into the muddy water.
Keepers identify and explain each elephant’s story, and also answer questions from visitors. The contrast of visualizing the horrific stories of the baby elephants’ past, and seeing happy playful animals quickly brings a renewed appreciation of the work done here.
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust was instrumental in the establishment of Kenya’s first enclosed Rhino Sanctuaries in Tsavo West; Re-establishment of over 40 elephants back into the Tsavo alone; Erecting and maintains a 62-kilometer electric fence on the Northern boundary of Tsavo National Park and purchasing two aircraft engines for KWS’s Tsavo surveillance plane.
Although these Conservation efforts are expensive to undertake, you can contribute to this Trust by visiting the place, adopting a baby elephant or giving a donation. Play a role in conserving a priceless resource, our Wildlife.