Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick is one extraordinary woman! She moved to Nairobi National Park with her husband in 1977, but just one year after they moved her husband tragically passed away from a heart attack. The couple had worked side-by-side for a long time caring for wildlife in Africa. Together, they worked to raise awareness and stamp out the illegal poaching of elephants for their ivory.
After her husband’s death, Dr. Sheldrick continued his legacy by establishing the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which is one of three organizations on the entire continent that works to rescue, rehabilitate, and release elephants that are orphaned due to illegal human activity.
Some of the baby elephants Dr. Sheldrick worked with had become caught in traps, while others had stumbled and fallen into abandoned wells. However, the majority of these elephants were left orphans because their mothers had been killed for their ivory tusks. These baby elephants had little chance of survival if Dr. Sheldrick hadn’t stepped in to help.
Dr. Sheldrick works at a sanctuary that takes these orphaned baby elephants in and helps them mature without their mother. Each elephant is each assigned a “keeper”, someone who bunks down with the baby elephant in a sleeping stall to help provide comfort and ease the frightened animal.
Once these elephants are old enough, they are moved to a different center that is located in Tsavo National Park. This center is nearly 200 miles away from the original one, and they continue to be cared for by a keeper. They are eventually released back into the wild to join the wild elephant communities that live in the area.
Elephants are just like humans, Dr. Sheldrick said, “only better.” She said: “They’re not corrupted. Their sense of family is as strong as ours. Their memories are amazing and their convoluted thinking and reasoning is equal to that of a human … The caring and nurturing is far greater in elephants than it is in humans, and loyalty and friendship endures.”
Learn more about Dr. Sheldrick’s inspiring story in the video below:
Please share Dr. Sheldrick’s story and encourage others to be kind to animals!