This is the first monthly post in the 2021 Kindness series. Each month I will make a donation to a different nonprofit and write about the organization. I planned to start in January, but was too excited about the first organization – Sheldrick Wildlife Trust – and couldn’t wait…
I adopted an elephant – her name is Kindani.
Isn’t she cute?
Kindani is 1 of the 262 orphan elephants and 17 rhinos the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has saved since 1977. I’ve been following Sheldrick for several years. Michael and I were talking about traveling to Kenya and visiting their Nairobi orphanage and eco camps on our next big holiday – and then COVID happened. (We are eager to resume the travel planning when it is feasible.) In Dame Daphne Sheldrick’s memoir Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story, you can learn how she became devoted to wildlife conservation and elephant rescue / reintegration. Some of the stories were heartwarming and some were heartbreaking. Daphne Sheldrick passed away in 2018; her daughter Angela continues to manage this incredible organization.
Sheldrick Wildlife Trust rescues orphaned elephants throughout Kenya. At the nursery in Nairobi, a team of Keepers care for their physical and emotional needs – which are many. Did you know that elephants grieve the loss of their families? Around age three, the elephants move to one of the reintegration units where they continue to be cared for by the Keepers while learning how to live in the wild. When an elephant is ready, he/she leaves the unit and joins a wild herd (this typically takes 8 – 12 years). Many of the elephants come back to visit and say hi – sometimes bringing their own babies. So far, there have been 38 babies born in the wild to former orphans. See what it is like to raise an orphan elephant.
Baby Elephant Kindani
Back to my adopted elephant Kindani… One of the ways people can support Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is by adopting an orphan elephant. You may be wondering… with so many elephants in their care, why did I pick Kindani? There are several reasons… I started by looking at the youngest / newest babies. I connected with Kindani’s personality – she is clever and a quiet leader to two other babies who were rescued soon after. I was also moved by her rescue story and how she showed ‘quiet determinism’. Kindani was rescued days before Daphne Sheldrick passed away, and due to terrible flooding and dangerous travel conditions, spent a night in her bedroom. Perhaps on that night Kindani received reassurance from Daphne’s spirit. Read the story of Kindani’s rescue.
Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Projects
In addition to rescuing and reintegrating orphan elephants and rhinos, Sheldrick Wildlife Trust does so much more. They work to prevent poaching through aerial surveillance, de-snaring teams, and a canine unit. They also focus on habitat conservation, creating water sources in drought areas, community outreach, and providing emergency veterinary care to wild animals. Learn all about Sheldrick’s projects.
Support Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
If you are interested, there are several ways you can support Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s valuable work in Kenya.
- Adopt an orphan animal for yourself or as a gift for someone
- Buy some cool animal themed items in their shop (check out the t-shirts and elephant socks)
- Purchase an item on their wish list like milk formula, binoculars, green clay used on wounds, and flashlights
- Purchase Daphne Sheldrick’s book Unsung Heroes
- Plan a visit to one of their Kenya eco lodges
- Tell your friends!
Feature image of Kindani copyright Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.