Did you know that every 15 minutes, an African elephant is killed? Heart-wrenching, right? At this rate, they will be extinct within the next 9 years!
You might have heard of the iconic burning of over 100 tonnes of ivory in Kenya in April; the largest ever ivory stockpile to be burned. There are mixed views about whether or not the ivory should have been burned, or other avenues looked into. Such as making a monument of it, like Botswana did. Knowing Kenya, I think burning was the best route. Conspiracy theorists claim that the ivory isn’t totally destroyed by burning, and through high-level corruption, the ivory is later retrieved and sold. Still, I think it’s the best route, and you can find me and we can have a chat about it.
The burning was to send out a clear and blazing message to the world (poachers, traders and consumers of ivory, conservationists and ordinary people like you and me) that Kenya is committed to conserving her elephants, does not and will not condone poaching and ivory trade. In that breath, let’s talk about Nairobi’s elephant sanctuary: the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Orphan’s Project.
“The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust was founded in 1977 by Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick D.B.E, in honour of the memory of her late husband, famous naturalist and founding Warden of Tsavo East National Park, David Leslie William Sheldrick MBE. The DSWT claims a rich and deeply rooted family history in wildlife and conservation. At the heart of the DSWT’s conservation activities is the Orphans’ Project, which has achieved world-wide acclaim through its hugely successful elephant and rhino rescue and rehabilitation program. The Orphans’ Project exists to offer hope for the future of Kenya’s threatened elephant and rhino populations as they struggle against the threat of poaching for their ivory and horn, and the loss of habitat due to human population pressures and conflict, deforestation and drought.”
-Text courtesy of DSWT website–
Orphaned elephants and rhinos are rescued and brought to the sanctuary under different circumstances: poaching, orphaned by natural causes, getting stuck in wells and mud etc. At the sanctuary they are fed and taken good care of by the keepers until they are old enough (usually 3-5 years) to be reintroduced to the wild. What a noble cause!
The public is welcome to visit the sanctuary every day for public feeding strictly from 11am to 12 noon. It costs only KES500 (5USD) for the feeding visit. Individuals who have fostered an orphaned rhino or elephant (more here) are allowed to visit their foster children during bedtime.
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is located off Magadi road, about 18km from the Nairobi CBD. By visiting the haven during feeding, you are directly contributing to the conservation of the endangered African elephant and black rhino. There are several other ways to donate to the trust and you can find out more here.
I hope that we all go about our day with a sense of environmental awareness and responsibility. Do not litter, switch off the lights when not in use, use water sparingly, have a more plant-based diet, fight hunting and game meat, service your car often, walk or cycle when you can… The little things. Thank you for reading and please watch my vlog below.
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Love and Enlightenment.