We’ve been doing a lot of work as settling in takes effort. The other weekend, we decided it was time to have some fun. So, we went to see the elephant orphans at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
In particular, we wanted to see little Kamok, my foster elephant. She was a gift adoption from my teammates at my prior job. I was really excited to see her and the other elephant babies.
The general public is allowed to visit the elephants during the morning slot. Foster parents can visit by appointment in the evening, when the elephants are coming home after spending the day in Nairobi National Park. We decided to do the evening option for our first visit. (We plan to go in the morning next time.)
It was so much fun to watch the elephants (with their keepers) run back to their pens. Some of them ran by pretty fast as they were hungry for feeding time. It was really exciting to watch Kamok, for the very first time, as she ran by. I took some video of everyone coming back in for the day:
After everyone was back, we were allowed to go visit them at the pens. I got to interact a bit with Kamok and even pet her. I don’t know how to express how it felt to meet her other than to say it was overwhelming. It was such a rush of emotions.
We knew we wanted to adopt another elephant so we asked the keeper if Kamok had any special friends. As it turns out, she has a best friend: MBegu. They even have pens next to one another and can interact between the slots of the dividing fence. We made sure to adopt her before we left.
I kind of like having two foster elephants! Now Kamok and Mbegu are sort of like sisters in addition to being best friends.
I am so grateful to my teammates for the gift of fostering. I am so grateful to DSWT for all of their conservation efforts. The best way to describe DSWT is to share its mission statement:
“The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust embraces all measures that compliment the conservation, preservation and protection of wildlife. These include anti-poaching, safe guarding the natural environment, enhancing community awareness, addressing animal welfare issues, providing veterinary assistance to animals in need, rescuing and hand rearing elephant and rhino orphans, along with other species that can ultimately enjoy a quality of life in wild terms when grown.”
A big part of the work revolves around the Orphan’s Project, which is an elephant and rhino rescue and rehabilitation program. (This is how I’m able to foster Kamok and Mbegu.) The babies taken in have lost their mothers due to poaching, human population pressures and conflict, deforestation or drought. DSWT gives them a second chance. To date it has helped over 150 baby elephants.
You can foster an elephant even if you can’t make it to Kenya. You can foster through the website. If you can make it to Kenya, I highly recommend a visit. It’s an amazing opportunity to connect with beautiful, majestic, gentle creatures. It’s an experience you’ll never forget.