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 the animals, check out these posts

  1. my-modern-myth reblogged this from enigmamente
  2. shining-whale reblogged this from thatisnotahat
  3. enigmamente reblogged this from localoperator
  4. thebeautyisinsideofyou reblogged this from thecautionarywhale
  5. she-walksinstarlight reblogged this from the-goddamazon
  6. freaky-ferret reblogged this from your-face-when
  7. thecautionarywhale reblogged this from ricosuave911
  8. your-face-when reblogged this from urban-outquitter
  9. fuckthatstheshitilike reblogged this from ricosuave911
  10. aimyles reblogged this from ricosuave911
  11. m3ch4k1tty reblogged this from urban-outquitter
  12. ricosuave911 reblogged this from urban-outquitter
  13. urban-outquitter reblogged this from youngblackandvegan
  14. archibaldcurothers reblogged this from crowleysdelicateass
  15. lambrinidiamandi reblogged this from mmh19
  16. primalreaction reblogged this from chilango-incomprendido
  17. turningthunderintograce reblogged this from theriverrunstoblack
  18. sohappilyyyy reblogged this from hayashiwylona
  19. live-love-huzzah reblogged this from mentalalchemy
  20. babyjobo reblogged this from grbggrl
  21. logic-is-futile reblogged this from jesusesbreastmilk
  22. holy-shite reblogged this from jesusesbreastmilk
  23. jesusesbreastmilk reblogged this from sleepy-eyed
  24. galacticsunshine reblogged this from amor-felicitas
  25. amor-felicitas reblogged this from butimnotinyour
  26. musingsofascholarlyidiot reblogged this from incrediblyunprofessional
  27. incrediblyunprofessional reblogged this from chocolatemudkip
  28. lives-like-ours reblogged this from upwayabovethechimneytops