David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is one of my favourite places we visited while in Kenya. Seeing the baby elephants run for their feeding time, listening to the stories of how they were rescued and what the plans were for the future when they are reintroduced to the wild in Tsavo was inspiring, moving and simply fascinating.
Sheldrick Wildlife Trust: Orphanage / Nursery for Elephants & Rhinos
The Orphanage / Nursery, which is located in Nairobi National Park, is open to the public for one hour every day, excluding 25th December, from 11am to noon. Access to the Orphanage / Nursery is via the KWS Central Workshop Gate Entrance to Nairobi National Park, off Magadi Road in Langata. Entrance to the Orphanage for the visiting hour is US$7 dollars / 500 Kenya Shillings per person, cash only.
There will be a small gift shop setup on-site, open during the visiting hour, and an opportunity to adopt any of the orphans in their care – many of whom visitors will see on the day. Funds generated from the gift shop and adoptions are used to help cover costs incurred in the rescue and hand-raising of orphaned elephants and their protection in the wild. We got t-shirt, mini ceramic elephants and little trinkets we couldn’t resist.
During the visiting hour the orphans are enjoying their milk feed, mud bath and just having fun playing. The hour with them is an opportunity for visitors to learn about the work of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in the rescue and rehabilitation of orphaned elephants, with one of the Keepers giving a talk and sharing stories of the elephants in their care.
During our stay we were lucky enough to meet Maarifa, the adorable baby rhino who was just rescued a few days prior to our arrival. She had so much character and was strutting around unaware that all the fuss around her was actually about her.
Support the orphanage
The website for the Trust has a wealth of information on how you can support the amazing work they do. The easiest way is sponsoring an orphan in their care. By adopting an elephant you have the opportunity to visit the orphanage at an hour available only to adopters that needs to be booked ahead of time. The 5pm visit is an opportunity for those directly supporting the care of the orphans, to witness the elephants returning from the forest for their evening milk feed and bedtime. Once all of the orphans have returned from the forest, adopters are invited to walk around in the Nursery area, talk with the Keepers and meet the orphans at their stables.
The most recent African elephant census found that populations have declined by 30 percent in the last decade. This decline is largely due to mounting threats like poaching, human-wildlife conflict and habitat destruction. Sheldrick Wildlife Trust does incredible work for these beautiful animals.