Birthday wishes to the amazing elephant conservationist Daphne Sheldrick
Last week was the 80th birthday of Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick, the truly outstanding founder and chair of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Having pioneered rescue, nursing, and rehabilitation of elephant and rhino orphans, often as a consequence of the scourge of poaching, Dr. Sheldrick and the trust have made an incalculable and phenomenal contribution to the continued, healthy existence of wild elephant and rhino populations in Kenya.
We’d like to share an extract of a recent rescue by the Sheldrick Trust.
“An elephant had killed a woman from the community and had been shot by KWS as a result. The calf had been left behind in the fracas that ensured with the stampeding herd, and any chance of reconciling her with the herd was impossible given the circumstances. The angry community of Kimanjo had set upon the baby in revenge spearing her several times. When she took refuge in the grounds of a nearby school the children began stoning her. Very swiftly the warden of the Naibunga Conservancy came to the calf’s rescue and kept her safe from the community who were baying for her blood in retaliation for recent events. While in close communications with KWS who were trying to instill calm to a difficult situation the DSWT rescue team were sent from Nairobi departing at 3.00pm from Wilson airport.
“After a one hour flight they arrived on the Ol Lentille airstrip and were immediately collected by a KWS land cruiser and taken to a nearby village where the calf was. Still the community surrounding the scene remained agitated and determined that the calf should not be rescued and removed from there. KWS along with the Conservancy personnel worked tirelessly trying to instill some understanding. It was a heartbreaking scene for our team to find the calf secured on the floor of a class, stressed, injured from the attacks, and extremely traumatized. Our team set about attending to the tiny baby elephant, all the while communicating with the community trying to explain things while preparing her for the journey back to the safety of the DSWT Nursery in Nairobi National Park. She had experienced unimaginable trauma that day, and was extremely lucky to still be alive, all thanks to the swift work of the Naibunga Conservancy warden called Peter. She responded to the tender loving care that she received from our team of keepers and fed well, clearly dehydrated by this time.”
This really shows the kind of heart-breaking situation faced by wildlife, not just by poaching but population growth and land encroachment. There are, of course, no easy solutions to these problems, but the Sheldrick Trust demonstrate the kind of compassion, dedication and overall soul needed to address these issues.
The Sheldrick Trust is really one of our favourite organizations, and we encourage visits to the Sheldrick Orphanage in Karen, on the outskirts of Nairobi, as well as the fostering of a baby orphan. We also wanted to show our deep respect and admiration for Dr. Sheldrick herself, and so had the above cake baked with our logo, and delivered it to her on her birthday.
Happy Birthday to an amazing conservationist.