These heartwarming photos show the fun side of raising orphaned elephants at a wildlife sanctuary in East Africa.
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya has posted a photo series of its human caregivers caring for an orphaned elephant herd as they explore their surroundings. Keepers recreate the elephant family structure that was ʟᴏsᴛ when they were orphaned, which is critical for them to grow up until they can rejoin the wild herds.
Despite their short lives being marred by ʟᴏss, these baby elephants still have a lot of love to give as they nuzzle up to keepers at the special orphanage.
A spokesperson from DSWT said: “Many of these orphans have ʟᴏsᴛ their mothers at the hands of humans and having experienced this emotional, and often physical, ᴘᴀɪɴ when so young and still milk dependent it is our responsibility to nurture and care for them so that they not only sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴇ, but ultimately thrive when back in the wild. Our Orphans’ Projects offers hope and healing for these ᴛʀᴀᴜᴍᴀᴛɪsᴇᴅ youngsters and our human carers work around the clock to replace an orphans’ ʟᴏsᴛ herd, providing the love, protection, care and milk they need 24 hours a day, just as their mothers would have done.”
For 40 years the DSWT has been rescuing and hand-rearing milk dependent orphaned baby elephants, so that they can return to the wild in a protected area when they’re older. Founder, Dame Daphne Sheldrick DBE pioneered the milk formula and care needed to hand-rear milk dependent baby elephants, which would have otherwise ᴅɪᴇᴅ.
Angela Sheldrick, CEO of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust said: “Our Keepers are master diplomats, ensuring that every orphan feels special and singled out.”
“Once they get older, they need exposure to the wild herds because, ultimately, every elephant that we raise lives a wild life again. We have successfully reintegrated more than 170 orphaned back in the wild where they belong, with many going on to start their own families.”
The playful scenes are encouraged at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, with the keepers having to give a lot of their undivided attention to the orphaned elephants.