We all know elephants have become an endangered species. Many of them die in the hands of poachers in search for ivory to be sold in the black market. Full grown elephants are killed for their tusks – leaving their babies behind to fend for themselves.
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is an organization in Kenya whose main mission is to provide care and save these orphaned animals’ lives.
They rescue them from the safaris in Africa and care for them like a mother elephant would. They are fed several times during the day and at night, tucked in for bed, bathed and watched over by the dedicated keepers.
The keepers say it’s very similar to raising babies. The elephants cry several times during the night wanting to be fed so they sleep nearby to cater to their needs.
Most of the keepers are parents so they are able to extend the same love to the elephants when caring for them. They also told The Dodo during an interview that the baby elephants are fun to watch when they sleep. They kick, snore and even make trumpet sounds when they dream.
When they first started, the elephants would cry at night to wake them up but after getting used to the night feeding intervals, the keepers are able to wake before the elephants even do. Take into consideration that these are large animals so you can only imagine how much mess they can make. One of the keepers recalled the time he almost got pooped on in his sleep. He woke up to find a huge pile of dung right beside his face. Needless to say, it’s a hard but fulfilling job knowing they are saving a life.
Though this job gives the keepers the opportunity with such cute and loving animals, there are downsides to it. Some elephants are too weak prior to their rescue and don’t make it. They usually die in the night when everyone is sleeping and very seldom during the day. It’s hard to wake up to a dead elephant you’ve been caring for and become emotionally attached to according to the keepers.
Still, the job of being mommy to these large yet cute orphans is pretty much on the same rank as being a panda hugger – incredible!
While we may not all be able to be keepers to orphaned baby elephants we can help in other ways. Check out The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust website to learn more about how you can be a part of this amazing cause.