Hand-rearing orphans of such a long-living species as elephants and rhinos is a lengthy commitment; an elephant is a milk dependent infant for its first 3 years and will remain dependent on their keepers until at least 10 years of age. To date the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) has successfully raised over 200 orphaned elephants with as many as 30 in the nursery at any one time and a further 70 keeper dependent orphans at our Tsavo Reintegration Units in Voi, Ithumba and Umani, with the remaining individuals now living wild.
Last year we were blessed five times when Ex Orphan Ndara had her first born, Neptune, and Ex Orphan Kinna had her first baby, Kama. Those two delightful births were followed by Yatta’s second born calf, little Yoyo, Nasalot’s first born, Nusu, and Sunyei’s first born Siku .This year we were delighted to welcome Seraa’s first born Solar, which brings a total of 29 wild born babies across all our units.
To ensure the safety of our orphans, as well as wild elephants and others, the DSWT also funds five Mobile Veterinary Units, a Sky Vet Initiative, ten DSWT/KWS Anti-Poaching Teams, Aerial Surveillance Units and a Canine Unit; all working in conjunction with the Kenya Wildlife Service to protect Kenya’s wildlife heritage. Since inception the Mobile Veterinary Units have saved hundreds of wild animals, including elephants wounded by poison arrows, spears and bullets, whilst the DSWT/KWS Anti-Poaching teams not only have apprehended hundreds of poachers, removed countless snares and prevented other man-made threats to the invaluable Tsavo Ecosystem. Both the DSWT/KWS Anti-Poaching and Vet Units are supported by our “eyes in the skies” through our Aerial Surveillance Team. We now operate seven aircraft, including two helicopters, all of which act as a deterrent to illegal activities over a vast landscape.
The ongoing practical assistance the Trust has been able to give the Kenya Wildlife Service has been invaluable. Among many significant contributions, one has been the installation and maintenance of boreholes making water available in an arid and thirsty land, and relieving pressure on Tsavo East National Park’s only two permanent rivers. Another has been the installation and ongoing maintenance of electric fencing along sensitive Park boundaries both in Northern Tsavo East and also the Nairobi National Park. The DSWT takes pride in being sufficiently flexible to meet unforeseen contingencies as and when they occur, ever aware that we owe this to the support of our many donors worldwide who have empowered us to be so proactive.
The Trust’s Community input is equally as important, if not more so, for the future of Kenya’s wild heritage lies in encouraging a more enlightened and caring younger generation. We endeavour to instill in young Kenyans the need for compassion and an appreciation of their rich wildlife heritage encouraging an innate reverence for life and the marvels of the Natural World. Animal ethics and concern for the welfare of others that share our planet are the cornerstones on which to build a caring and honorable Nation who will be good custodians of their national heritage and more caring of one another, without viewing animals as a mere commodity that can be exploited inhumanely and cruelly for the benefit of humankind.
As well as our website, you can keep constantly up to date with our conservation work on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/thedswt Instagram http://www.instagram.com/dswt and Twitter http://www.twitter.com/dswt
Once again we thank you most sincerely for your help which, as always, is deeply appreciated.