Animals cannot speak for themselves, so they need our help to protect their environment and livelihood. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) is doing their part as the world’s most successful orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation program. Founded in 1977, the organization has raised over 150 of the orphaned creatures in Kenya, healing them and returning them to the wild.
A team of dedicated keepers—donning bright green jackets—care for the elephants, standing in as their surrogate parents. Their compassion makes a huge impact on the abandoned animals, giving them the courage and strength to carry on. “Even years down the road, once they've graduated from our care and are living in the wild,” they explain on Instagram, “the orphans still remember and recognize the DSWT keepers who changed their lives.” They perform some unexpected tasks, such as skin care regimens and tucking them in at night. Each duty has its own special way of contributing to the rehabilitation of these fragile creatures.
“There is little more rewarding than being able to watch as these broken babies heal and join wild herds to live a wild life again,” explained Angela Sheldrick, CEO of DSWT and the daughter of its namesake. But the advocacy for these creatures is far from over—an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 are killed for their tusks each year. “We urge people to use their social channels to share stories about elephants in an effort to remind people that our natural world is the most beautiful world,” she said, “and that if we lose it, we will lose a part of ourselves.”