In November of 2007, I flew to the UK (on my way to Kenya) and had the great privilege and joy of meeting Will Travers, co-founder and president of Born Free. He was so generous with his time and gave me tips about where to go in Kenya, especially Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary. I had heard about this sanctuary and very much wanted to go there but didn’t know how to find it. Thanks to Will, I was able to find it! So I traveled to the Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary. to observe elephants in the wild and to meet the wonderful villagers who, out of a desire to live in harmony with elephants, turned their farm land into a sanctuary to preserve elephants. I thought that was so very wonderful! I loved the villagers the minute I met them, especially Salim Mwamasumbi, a local teacher who became one of my beloved employees!
I also visited the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi and got to meet the incredible founder, Dame Daphne Sheldrick. A true lover of elephants! We talked about elephants for almost an hour!!! I was so lucky! Unfortunately, she died on April 12, 2018. What a huge loss for all of us, especially elephants.
Daphne’s amazing daughter, Angela, now runs the Sheldrick Elephant Trust, so the orphaned elephants continue in expert loving hands!!! They are loved and cared for by the excellent keepers who give them a specially prepared milk every three hours (!). They cavort and play in the wild of the Nairobi national park and at night they are put to sleep by their keepers who sleep in their stalls with them. (I want that job!) After about 2 years they are moved to another place in the Tsavo National Park. There they are prepared for returning to the wild. It takes several more years for the orphaned elephants ween themselves from the keepers and begin to live with a wild herd that adopts them. It’s amazing that sometimes, that an elephant that has grown up and becomes wild again, will return to say “hello”. And a female elephant sometimes will return with her baby calf to show the keepers whom she has never forgotten. It’s all very wonderful what Sheldrick Elephant Trust, does to give life back to orphaned elephants!!