Photos by Gerry Ellis from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a nursery and orphanage for elephants in Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park. Here, fifty five keepers are charged with being around the clock parents to an elephant. The elephants, however, are the ones who chose their caretakers; it is the keepers who must ingratiate themselves to the elephants and earn their trust.
When elephants first arrive at the orphanage they are often traumatized from having witnessed the slaughter of their mothers and family by poachers. Grieving can last several months, and they often lose the will to live. But as Dame Daphne Sheldrick, founder of the orphanage, explains, a caretaker is charged with “persuading an elephant to live when it wants to die.”
Approximately 35,000 elephants are killed by humans every year. With an estimated 350,000 elephants left in the whole continent of Africa, they will be gone in the wild within ten years.
CBC’s The Nature of Things did a program on the elephants and their caretakers. You can foster an elephant with the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust online here. For more on the emotional lives of elephants, as well as the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and other human efforts to save them, check out these posts
Just point your trunk to where you threw my ball… Charming pictures of orphaned elephant playing catch with a labrador.
Bubbles, a 32 year old African elephant, plays in the river with his best friend Bella a 3 year old labrador in Myrtle Beach Safari, South Carolina.
Photographer Barry Bland
How to World Cup, as told by baby elephants.
Big sister drops to her knees to show affection to newborn Photo by James Irwin
well that’s another person who can draw better than me
Oh my god my heart actually exploded from this happiness.
Omg the last gif it waved back omg
So many people always seem to forget just how intelligent elephants are.
the elephant drew the other elephant.
THE ELEPHANT ACTUALLY DREW THE OTHER MOTHERFUCKIN ELEPHANT
Sometimes, the adolescent elephant will throw itself upon the ground as a sign of extreme emotional distress, commonly known as a “tantrum.”
Elephants at Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda
National Geographic | May 1985