The Nairobi Elephants – Article by Gareth Jones
The Nairobi Elephants At The Elephant Orphanage
A while ago we arrived at the Elephant Orphanage a few minutes before 11h00, there was already a large crowd of people in the queue waiting to see the baby elephants. It is one of the venues that we often bring visiting friends and family to visit. Every visit brings mixed emotions. It is always cute to see little baby creatures, and baby elephants are no exception, however, the real reason these tiny elephants are there is very tragic.
At their morning feed time, the baby elephants led, our in order of age groups with the youngest appearing first. They are then bottle-fed, a very special milky formula that was uniquely developed by the late Dame Daphne Sheldrick through hard-earned experience in trying to save baby elephants. The baby elephants also have great fun as they play in the mud and enjoy being sprayed with water, and some even play football. It is very evident even at this young age that elephants are very intelligent.
When the staff & keepers stand before the visitors and then name each baby elephant, and narrate their tragic story one by one, quite a few people have a tear in their eye. The overwhelming majority of these babies were rescued after their mothers were brutally poached just because they have ivory. The battle to save the Elephants continues, as conservationists and concerned high profile VIP people are involved in tremendous efforts to stop the bloody ivory trade, however, even though their efforts are commendable and heartfelt, in order to gain more success in this ongoing battle, many, many good people need to get “hands-on” and involved, for it has been said before “for evil to succeed then good people just need to do nothing!” Many of us like to visit Kenyan national parks and enjoy seeing and watching wild elephants but all too few of us get involved in ensuring that future generations can also see wild elephants.
The Trust serves a very worthwhile purpose by hand-rearing the orphaned elephants, then translocating them to Tsavo East where they mature further before being released into the wild. For those who want to, it is possible to sponsor a particular baby elephant and then even visit the same baby at a later stage of their life when they are translocated to Tsavo East.
Less than 100 years ago elephants did roam over the Nairobi area, it is estimated that Kenya had more than 250,000 elephants in the past, by 1973 the numbers reduced to 170,000 then by 1989 they reduced to only 16,000…today there are over 30,000 and with poaching on the rise again, the battle continues. It is significant that various Ivory burning in the Nairobi National Park now symbolizes the tragic past remembering of the deaths of thousands of elephants, and also represents hope for a new life for the many baby orphan elephants.
The world demand for Ivory products needs to be seriously addressed through law and education, for in simple terminology – NO demand is… NO need for Ivory… therefore elephants LIVE!!!
So as a Nation let Kenya rise up and stop the destruction of their national God-given heritage by being active wherever possible to stop the slaughter. At this current moment visit to the Elephant Orphanage are on hold due to the current reality Covid-19 viral threat. The orphanage is not receiving any visitors, the situation will be reviewed on the 1st of April 2020. However not being physically there doesn’t mean you can’t help a baby orphan elephant. Just click on the website link and find out more about how you can help.
For more information on the Nairobi park baby elephants, you can visit the following website: https://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/