ADOPT AND BOTTLE FEED AN ORPHANED BABY ELEPHANT
There is nothing more awesome than an up close and personal encounter with an African elephant calf. By visiting the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust—the most intensive elephant and rhino relocation program in the world—Epic Road travelers have the opportunity to not only engage with these giant soulful creatures, but to also contribute to their survival. Thousands of African elephants are killed each year by poachers who illegally sell their ivory tusks, and these elephants’ offspring—who depend on their mother’s milk for the first two years of life—are often left vulnerable in the wild. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust offers a haven for these orphans, along with a unique fostering program whereby travelers can adopt an elephant in advance of their trip, and then spend time with the calf in person at the Nairobi National Park where they are raised. To date more than half the infants the Trust has rescued have been successfully released back into the wild, into a new extended community of other rescued elephants. But even for travelers who don’t have the opportunity to foster, the Trust is a magical place to visit, simply for the very special experience of watching these beloved animals interact against the beautiful backdrop of the African Savannah that is their natural habitat.
WHAT WE LOVE
- Education: The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is the world’s foremost authority on elephant protection, and a day visit to their corner of the Nairobi National Park is an incredible opportunity to learn about conservation issues first-hand from those who search for and rescue orphans directly from the wild.
- Interaction: Imagine engaging with your very own elephant! Visitors who have adopted infants can meet their calves in person, watch them play and observe the dedicated care and rehabilitation that allows these young elephants to thrive in the face of loss. Sponsors are also allowed a private visiting hour, to spent quieter time with calves as they are preparing to sleep.
- Feeding: Elephant calves form extremely strong attachments to their mothers, and losing access to that bond so early in life can have tragic physical and psychological consequences. David Sheldrick himself spent 30 years perfecting a formula for that can nourish an orphaned elephant almost exactly as well as its mother’s milk, and watching a calf bond with its human caregiver at feeding time is a beautiful thing.
- Nature: The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is located within the Nairobi National Park, a unique urban reserve that boasts an incredible range of animal and birdlife, and that is a rewarding visit in its own right. The Park also houses a deep population of both black and white Rhino, and is one of the best places to observe these amazing creatures in all of Kenya.
WHAT TO KNOW
- All elephant adoption fees go directly to the care and feeding of the calf.
- Elephants available for adoption are listed on the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust website, along with their name, detailed biography and place of origin.
- Sponsors regularly receive photos and updates by e-mail, and are considered lifelong members of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust family.
- The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust opens its doors to the public to view orphans between 11am – 12pm daily.
- Visiting hours for elephant foster parents are at 5:00 pm daily, and private visits can be arranged as well.
MORE ON ELEPHANTS, KENYA & WILDLIFE CONSERVATION
- Interview with Jena Gardner, Co-Founder of Bodhi Tree Foundation, on Safeguarding a Future for Africa's Elephants
- Seeing the Big Five on a Luxury Safari in Africa - the African Lion, the African Elephant, the African Leopard, the Cape Buffalo and the Rhino
- 25 Signature Experiences by Epic Road
- Big Cat Conservation Safari in Kenya
- Rhino Microchipping Safari
- Top Natural Wonders of Africa