The One Forty Eight Boutique HotelJuly 28, 2017
Mount Kenya Wildlife EstateOctober 24, 2017
Soooooooo, let's talk about the elephant in the room...
In a single decade (that is 1979-1989), half of Africa's elephants were lost to the Ivory trade. Amid public outrage over the crisis, in 1989 Kenya burned her stockpile of ivory in protest at the trade as the world’s international wildlife trade body; Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) banned all international trade in elephant tusks. (Click HERE
For the next decade, the ivory trade lay dormant and the elephant population started to recover. Unfortunately, somewhere after 2007; a new crisis began. The demand for ivory was fuelled by China's demographic and economic boom. (Click HERE
It is estimated that between 2002 and 2011, the worlds forest elephant population was reduced by 62% (due to poaching).In 2009 Save the Elephants recorded a spike in poaching rates in Samburu. Their research estimated that the number of elephants killed for their ivory between 2010 and 2012 was a whopping 100,000. (Click HERE
Despite a ban on the international trade in ivory, African elephants are still being poached in large numbers. Tens of thousands of elephants are still being killed every year for their ivory tusks. (Click HERE
On April 30th, 2016, More than 100 tonnes of ivory was set ablaze in Kenya; the largest ever such fire, in an attempt to shock the world into protecting endangered elephants.
Kenya is making a statement that for us ivory is worthless unless it is on our elephants…
- Uhuru Kenyatta
A Much Needed Elephant's Haven
Every once in a while, I love to go spend time at one of my favourite spots; The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT)
. Each visit to this elephant’s haven (in Langata) feels like an amazing new experience. The DSWT usually start their elephant show at 11:00 am and end the show at 12:00 pm. They start the show by bringing out the CUTEST baby elephants 😍. It’s always so exciting to watch them happily and playfully run towards the crowd.
They then proceed to give us the stories of how they became orphans; that is, how they lost their families, the injuries they sustained, and what they (DSWT) have done (and will keep doing) to ensure they are good and strong enough to be released back into their natural habitat. It’s so emotional to listen to all the sad stories of these cute baby giants. To imagine death separating you from your mother, and you being helpless about it.
In one incident, a baby elephant lost its tail during a scuffle with poachers that killed its mom. It warmed my heart to see this little elephant happily playing around, and rolling in the mud with other orphans.
This one time, I got to meet an elephant called Sokotei who was found at Samburu National Reserve when he was 6months old. He was rescued after he was found roaming around alone after his mother’s tragic death. It was so awesome to see the Rangers play with them and feed them their milk (which they quickly gulp down).
It’s clear to see that the Rangers and these elephants have such strong bonds. I talked to the Rangers and they we more than glad to show me where these orphans sleep.
Each elephant has a spacious stable for them to sleep in. They have laid out many blankets on the floor and hay so that they can have a warm, and comfortable place to sleep. The ranger also told me that sometimes they sleep with the elephants to ensure that they are well taken care of, even throughout the night. It’s no wonder these rangers and the elephants develop such strong bonds.
Elephants truly are such gentle giants. Watching them socialize with each other, really made me realise that we as humans could learn a lot from elephants. Elephants are highly sensitive and caring animals.bIf a baby elephant complains, the entire family will rumble and go over to touch and caress it. Elephants express grief, compassion, self-awareness, altruism and play.
During my visit, I saw their caring, sensitive, and loving nature first hand. There was this elephant that got stuck in the mud bath (he couldn’t get out, he kept sliding back in). I was touched to see how quickly the other elephants got behind that one elephant, to push him out of his sticky situation. (Refer to the pictures below)
An Elephant Never Forgets
Elephants are extremely intelligent animals and have memories that span many years. Elephants have emotions; they can display signs of grief, joy, anger and play… They even laugh. Elephants sometimes “hug” by wrapping their trunks together in displays of greeting and affection.
Each trip to DSWT makes me wonder why anyone would want to harm these gentle giants. David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is a great place to visit if you love nature and animals. It’s a fun and entertaining environment, filled with great vibes. The best part is; all the proceeds go to taking care of the elephants at DSWT, and also towards rescuing animals that are helpless, or in danger. That means, the more you visit, the more money they have to continue fighting off poachers, and also attending to, and rehabilitating wounded elephants (and rhinos) in the wild.
Brave and dedicated people are giving their lives to protect our elephants. They need all of our support... Poaching undermines national security and endangers jobs and community support derived from tourism…. Poaching steals from us all….. When the buying stops, the killing can too.
- Lupita Nyong'o
to visit their website and know more about them and their work.
to see a list of the updates (from rescue stories to updates on elephants that were previously rehabilitated and released back into the wild) by DSWT.
to go to their Instagram page (and follow them) alternatively you can search for DSWT on Instagram… (whatever’s clever).
Join The Tribe 🙂