We all know about Kenya‘s big parks and savannahs, where every day hundreds of tourists pour in to check the wild animals’ show. But everyone knows that Kenya is still subject to poaching although parks and natural reserves are protected by the law. Two of the hunters’ main targets are elephants and rhinos.
To safeguard the young animals left without a mother – and therefore almost certainly left to die – in 1977 Daphne Sheldrick founded the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, named this way to honour her deceased husband. The trust’s aim is to retrieve the rhino and elephant orphan cubs over Kenyas reserves and start a rehabilitation in their animal care centre, hoping to reintroduce them into the wildlife in the future, in Tsavo National Park.
I’ve seen this centre a few years ago during a trip to Nairobi. It is close to Nairobi National Park and it opens its gates to the public just for a few hours in the morning.
During every visit the volunteers and staff members explain how they take care about the cubs, raising them, playing with them, taking them out for long walks in the hills and helping them to get back at their natural habits. Around midday you can even watch while they feed them, using huge bottles full of milk.
Most of the animals in the care centre have been traumatized by the loss of their parents and don’t sleep well at night: that’s why in every cage there is also a bed for the staff member who sleeps with them. An impressive display of love and affection for these big, tender animals.
Beside being a wonderful and useful project, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust offers an excellent alternative to Nairobi’s urban chaos. Its care centre is surrounded by green hills and on your way there you may easily meet funny monkeys and warhogs.
I suggest visiting the trust to everyone, especially if you are sympathetic to sustainable tourism or if you want to give a contribution to this great project.