We reserved some time in the day before taking the plane to the Masai Mara to meet one place which we had already in our mind for a long ago. We admire the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust for their work on rescueing young elephants in danger and their effort to reintroduce them in the nature.
Arriving a bit late after noon, we have caught the little orphans introduction already in the middle and the explanation about the DSWT done by the staff. There were 3 very young elephants under care of the staff underneath the umbrellas drinking water from a tank.
These young orphans are really very young and have a lot of problems and illnesses to be solved before getting out of danger. Some of them arrive at the institution after have fallen into man-made holes in the ground like wells or after being trapped in poacher’s snares, so their lives are still under threat, and are kept under medication and full attention of the Dr. Daphne Sheldrick.
After removing the youngsters back into their stockades, they bring the “veterans”,the ones that have already managed recovering from the first part of their tragedy. These lads now have to grow together, get stronger and socialize amongst themselves until they reach the right status for being moved to the Tsavo unit of DSWT to be introduced into a resident step-family constitued of other grown up orphans, prior to being releasedinto the wild.
In the first half of the time with the ellis they nurse them with the special milk prepared by Dr. Daphne (elephants cannot drink bovine milk under risk of having serious digestive probems). They freak out for the milk! They scream,they grunt, they run!
Finally, with belly full of milk, they go play in the muddy waterhole. They really enjoy being there, they look so happy covering themselves of mud!
They drink and splash water all over the place. They push, they fall, and they roll like your puppy playing in the backyard, but they are just a little bigger!
In order to complete the elephants’ bath a sprinkle of dust crowns the mess. This sort of bath ritual is actually a way elephants can cool down their bodies, remove the parasites from the skin and then protect them with natural sunscreen of mud.
Observing these youngsters playing is really a miracle provided the background of this elephants and the circumstances that took them there. But this is a real reward for the team of DSWT and the proof that this animals have another chance to go wild again - litterally.
Time flies when you watch these amazing creatures so close, and yet that you always have the feeling that your time there was not enough, you can still think that you can come back someday and in the meantime you can follow up the news about the elephants you have just met and help DSWT doing donations. This is the minimum you can do after you have profited of such unforgettable encounter.
Take a chance to meet the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and foster an elephant or help their other actions right now at www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org.
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