Safari update 26 Aug – Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Nairobi, Kenya

Clear skies in the early am, with smog and heavy haze developing soon after 1100.

Departing early, we went to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, where rescued baby elephants are cared for until they are released back into the wild. Everyone became foster parents of an elephant (or two), or renewed their foster status for another two years. While at the Trust, we made an appointment for a special event, just for foster parents later in the day; the running of the elephants.

Back for Sheldrick to participate in the elephants running to their pens for feeding.  Funny thing at the Trust, things just seem to happen very quickly and without warning.  Before we knew it, the baby elephants were running right at us, and I was NOT camera ready.  Talk about acting just like kids, shortly after being fed their special milk formula (made of vegetable material and imported from England), they instantly fell asleep.  They will wake again in three to four hours for another feeding.  While in the Trust, they are under constant 24×7 care, to the point that a handler sleeps with them, as to comfort them like a mother would.  Each handler commits to a two year program at the trust in which he seldom gets to see is ‘human’ family and are rotated among the elephants.  This rotation avoids the development of any dependency issues that the elephants might develop.

This trip included the adoption of NAIPOKI. The opening paragraph of the Naipoki’s Orphan Profile starts out: We received an early morning call from Jane Craig at 7.00 am reporting news of a tiny baby elephant that had been rescued from a well in the Namunyak Conservation Area, that was in the safe custody of Hilary and Piers of Sarara Camp. The Kenyan Wildlife Service then called having been alerted about the calf with the same news and we immediately scrambled a team of Keepers and they were at Namunyak in Northern Kenya by 10.30 am. For additional details about Naipoki check out this document which contains the  story of Naipoki.

After a full day, we started heading back to the Fairview for rest and a nice meal.  Along the way we drove by Kibera, the 2nd largest slum in Africa, with the a population estimate for this area well above 1.8 million. Although this estimate (from our guide) is several years old, the area has most certainly grown by now You can find a wide range of population estimates across the web for this area, and it you are interested, a simple Google search (images) will return a number of heart breaking images.  It was another moving sight for me, one that I am still trying to process in my mind (I remain undecided whether or not to show some of the images).

Below are some fun images from the day.  Enjoy and if you are ever in Nairobi, please take time to visit the wonderful conservation facilities of Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.  While you are there, adopt a baby elephant.

Home Sweet Home

Naipoki at feeding time

Nikon D3s, 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm, ISO 800, f/8.0 at 1/50 sec

Naipoki's handler

Nikon D3s, 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 62mm, ISO 800, f/4.5 at 1/60 sec



These images were taken here