They say elephants never forget...
We keep them in our memory, too!
Elephants are remarkable animals. Beautiful, intelligent and highly social, these gentle giants inspire wonder in humans, and we continue to learn more about their complex behavoir. In spite of their formidable size and thick skin, however, life is not easy for wild herds. Humans continue to encroach on their space and poach them for parts, a fact that’s on the minds of every person at Travcoa.
As part of Travcoa's goal of responsible travel, we support The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a registered, charitable organization dedicated to the rescue and protection of elephants in East Africa. One way Travcoa contributes is through the Trust's foster parent program, and we were recently blessed with a new “foster child” named Ajabu.
Orphaned elephants are often the result of the mother or other family being killed by poachers, leaving vulnerable calves alone with little chance of survival. Ajabu was rescued the day she was born, and for several months, she thrived under the constant care of her Keepers. On August 21, 2013, however, little Ajabu succumbed to illness and passed away peacefully surrounded by her grieving human family, as well as Sonje, her adopted elephant “mini mum.” Older than Ajabu, Sonje served as a surrogate mother and guided Ajabu through her first few months of life.
Ajabu’s death is heartbreaking for everyone at Travcoa, but our mission continues with Sonje who still requires medical attention and care from the staff. Sonje was found alone with an injured leg in February of 2013. She was only 12 months old and still milk dependent. Because elephants depend on mother's milk for the first two years of life, she might have perished if not for the efforts of the Trust. Sonje is spirited and often takes charge at the sanctuary's nursery, guiding younger calves as she did with little Ajabu.
In a perfect world, wild elephants would never lose their mothers to poachers. Until this day arrives, however, Travcoa will continue to support The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Travcoa guests on the 2014 Grand Safari with Kenya & Tanzania itinerary will have a private visit to the Elephant and Rhino Nursery at the Trust’s compound in order to interact with the infant elephants and their family of keepers. Each booking on this journey will also enjoy a one-year elephant sponsorship of their own, compliments of Travcoa, complete with a monthly progress report and current photographs from the Trust.
About The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
Founded in 1977 in honor of the respected game warden and conservationist, the late David Sheldrick, the Trust maintains a headquarters outside Nairobi, Kenya and serves as a sanctuary for threatened and orphaned elephants and rhinos. The mission continues under guidance of a governing board and Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick, and the Trust provides a sanctuary for threatened and orphaned young elephants and rhinos, some only days old on arrival, with the hope to release each individual back into the wild at maturity.
For more information about the work of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and to learn how easy it is to sponsor or gift-sponsor a young, orphaned elephant and rhino in need, visit www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org.