A visit to the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi National Park offers a rare glimpse into the life of these rehabilitated and adorable baby elephants.
The orphanage is the product of the love of its founder, Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick. For over fifty years, Dame Sheldrick has devoted her life to protecting and nurturing elephants. In 1987, after the death of her husband David Sheldrick, the beloved naturalist and founder warden of Tsavo East National Park, Daphne successfully concocted an elephant milk formula based on human baby formula. This was a huge break through in elephant conservation as baby elephants are solely dependent on their mother’s milk for the first two years of their lives. Without it, there is no hope for survival.
Baby elephant Olmeg, a two-week old victim of poaching was the first of over 150 baby elephants to have been hand-reared by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust named in her late husband’s honor. Today, the orphanage is still overseen by Dame Daphne and her daughters, Angela and Jill. Their team of devoted keepers not only hand raises these baby elephants but also looks after their reintroduction to the wild herds in Tsavo East National Park. For her dedication to these noble pachyderms, Daphne was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II.