Alone. Abandoned. Attacked.
In Kenya, an injured, malnourished and dehydrated 3 month old baby elephant roams the country’s wilderness by himself in search of help. Due to his fragile state and inability to keep up with the herd, it’s likely that his family and friends were forced to leave him behind.
Following a number of poaching causalities in the area, it’s possible that the infant’s mother was brutally killed by poachers in search of ivory–making him an orphan shortly after he was born.
Growing weaker by the day without his mother’s milk, and with lions, jackals and other dangerous predators lying in wait of prey, it’s amazing that he’s still alive.
Named after the area where he was found in Tsavo National Park, Sattao is just one of many baby elephants who have been rescued by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT), a charity raising awareness of elephants and among many others supporting World Elephant Day on August 12th.
At the heart of their conservation work is the Orphan’s Project, which is renowned worldwide for its immensely successful elephant and rhino rehabilitation program.
Sattao was rescued on March 18th 2017 after several people reported seeing a tiny baby elephant with bite marks wandering around on its own. Physically and mentally traumatized, the DSWT immediately flew him to safety and nursed him back to health at their nursery based in Nairobi National Park.
He has since been introduced to a new herd, made up of other orphaned elephants, where he is benefitting from the care and comfort of older females and his new best friend, Luggard.
“Hand rearing an orphaned elephant is no small feat – it can take up to a decade for an orphan to reintegrate back into the wild, and during the early years, they require round the clock care and lots and lots of milk at our Nursery which acts as a pre-school for orphaned elephants!
Sattao has a long way to go before he will return back to the wild, but when he does, he’ll join more than 100 orphaned elephants that have made the leap. Without intervention, these orphans stood no chance of survival – now, they’re part of a new generation of elephants roaming wild and free as they should, all the while protected by our Anti-Poaching and Aerial Surveillance operations, in partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service.”
– Rob Brandford, Executive Director of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (UK).
How the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is helping protect the elephant population
The Orphan’s Project was set up to provide hope for the future of Kenya’s elephant and rhino populations, which are constantly fighting against ivory poachers and the loss of their homes because of human population pressures and conflict, deforestation and drought.
The DSWT strives to provide these animals with the love and support they need to enjoy a happy life back in the wild when fully grown. So far they have hand-raised more than 200 infant elephants and reintegrated more than 100 orphans back into the wild, with many having gone on to give birth to calves of their own.
#WorldElephantDay–raising awareness of the problems
World Elephant Day on August 12th is raising awareness of the threats affecting elephants like Sattao in Kenya and highlighting problems other animals are facing in parts of Africa and Asia. It’s estimated that every day up to 100 African elephants die as a result of illegal ivory trade and the loss of homes and food is increasingly putting many more at risk. Soon these beautiful, keystone creatures could become extinct.
There are many ways you can get involved and make a difference.
You can help protect more elephants like Sattao by donating to the DWST or by fostering one of the baby elephants in their orphanage. Learn more about how to offer support by visiting their website.
Through the World Elephant Day website you’ll also find more information about the issues facing elephant populations around the world and how you can get involved. Here you can access a host of associated charities which need your support.
Your donations and efforts will go towards building communities to help tackle the issues and bringing together organisations such as governments, media companies and charities to enable new laws and legislation to be passed. One body cannot do this alone–only though collaborating across borders can we really make a change.
Find out more about how We Make Change can give you the power to change the world here.