As if visiting The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and seeing orphaned elephant calves could get any cooler, it did. One of the privileges you receive in return for “fostering” an orphan is getting to visit the Trust after hours and watch as the calves are brought in for the night and fed!
The elephant I sponsored as a gift to my mom is named Dika. Little bit of a plot twist though, Dika is no longer in the orphanage, in fact, he is now 25 years old! Chosen by my mother for his birth year of 1988, the same year my parents got married, Dika was three months old when he was brought in to the orphanage, after his migrating herd fell under gunfire to Somali poachers.
“Today, with the benefit of 18 years of hindsight, Daphne Sheldrick can honestly say that Dika is one of the nicest elephant characters the Trust has ever had the privilege of knowing. He showed us how deeply elephants mourn their lost loved ones, and for how long, and it was he that showed us how important the input of the other Nursery inmates is in persuading a newcomer to live. It was also Dika that showed us that elephants really do shed tears.”
~DSWT Dika Orphan Profile
If you would like to read his whole profile, you can do so here. It is a pretty amazing story as Dika displays how emotional and empathetic elephants can be.
Since I did not have a elephant to visit as mine is in Tsavo National Park, I roamed around and visited all of the stables!
Stealing their neighbor’s dinner seemed to be a common occurrence, the grass is always greener on the other side, right?
They are such sweet animals, it was sad seeing the 31 (current) orphans being tucked into bed for the night, but at the same time so wonderful to see them up close and so educational. Before, I knew elephants were big, strong and never forget. Now I am aware of the threats humans pose against them and how frequently they are killed for our (illegal) profit.
Asante sana, David Sheldrick Wilflife Trust, for all you have taught me!