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The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is one of East Africa's leading conservation organizations and one of the most respected in the world. Its reputation is well deserved. Since 1977, the Sheldrick family has operated an elephant rescue and wildlife rehabilitation program. The program has expanded over the years to include several conservation projects operated in Nairobi, Kenya.
These include an elephant orphanage, anti-poaching unit, mobile veterinary units and habitat conservation. The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi is open to the public and is a very special experience. Read on to find out how to visit the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and everything you need to know about this wonderful organization.
Sobre Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is a world-renowned wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centre. The organization was founded in 1977 by Daphne Sheldrick. It was originally named after her late husband, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. David was a naturalist and founding director of Tsavo National Park in Kenya. The couple worked together for 25 years, rehabilitating many different species during that time. The name was changed to Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in 2019 after Daphne's death to honor her and David. Their daughter, Angela Sheldrick, grew up in Nairobi National Park, where she worked with her mother. She currently leads the organization.
At the beginning of the 20th century, there were between 3 and 5 million African elephants, today there are only 400,000. SWT has rehabilitated more than 260 elephants at the orphanage over the years and is leading Kenya's fight to save the species. The orphanage is open to the public daily. It gives guests a glimpse of the hard work that goes into wildlife rehabilitation and gives them the opportunity to spend time with young elephants.
Where is the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust located?
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is present throughout Kenya and works with many of the country's national parks and forests. However, it is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. The Trust owns 1,618 hectares (4,000 acres) of land adjacent to the Tsavo East National Park, which supports all of its Tsavo-based projects. The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has three reintroduction units in this reserve. Located in Nairobi National Park, the nursery serves as the organization's main base for most of its rehabilitation efforts.
How to get to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust?
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi is the closest airport to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. The airport is 27 km (17 miles) or approximately 40 minutes drive from the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage. You can take a taxi or an Uber at the airport or your hotel in Nairobi. A taxi from the airport costs around 2773 KES (25 USD). Another way to contact the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is byRota. Most tours include transfers from hotels near Nairobi.
What does the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust do?
Elephants and rhinos are in a long, ongoing battle with poachers and habitat loss. Demand for ivory, deforestation and prolonged drought have all contributed to the loss of wildlife. Kenya is seeing a slight increase in elephant populations for the first time in years, largely attributed to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has a handful of projects to help combat the loss of life. These include the Anti-Poaching Unit, the Veterinary Unit, Water for Wildlife and the Orphan Project, to name a few. They all play a very important role in wildlife survival, but let's focus on the Orphan Project.
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust rescues and rehabilitates all types of wildlife, but primarily focuses on elephants and rhinos. He is best known for his Project Orphans. Baby elephants and rhinos are orphaned when poachers kill their mothers or succumb to drought. Calves are dependent on milk for the first two years of life, making it physically impossible for them to survive on their own. Over the years, Daphne Sheldrick has mastered her hygiene and created the perfect baby elephant formula.
When the orphans arrive at the Sheldrick Wildlife Foundation, they are frail and likely dehydrated. They are also extremely traumatized by the recent events they have experienced. Elephants are highly intelligent animals and have great memories. Orphans really mourn the loss of their family when they come to the nursery.
At this stage, a lot of work is done to care for the elephants. Kindergarten teachers take care of the orphans during the day and even sleep next to them at night. The orphans are fed every three hours and the dedicated caregivers become their surrogate family. They are very social animals and a "family" is very important to them. Guardians are essential to your survival. In many ways they are very similar to human children. They need blankets, toys, walks and lots of stimulation.
At the age of three or four, orphans are taken off formula and slowly introduced to a plant-based diet. If they are strong enough, they will be assigned to one of SWT's reintegration units. Most go to Tsavo National Park. Tsavo National Park is home to Kenya's largest population of elephants. This is the beginning of its reintroduction into the wild.
Every morning, the orphans are escorted to the park by their caretakers. You will first be introduced to orphans from previous kindergartens, and eventually you will meet the wild herds. How long it takes for an orphan to join the wild herd depends on many factors and every elephant is different. During this phase they return to the nursery every night until they are no longer vulnerable to predators.
How to visit the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
Due to COVID restrictions, Nairobi nursery visit policies have changed. please verifySheldrick Wildlife Trustfor current guidelines on how to visit the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Until now, there have been two ways to visit the nursery. I will be discussing both in hopes that the second will return after Covid.
Currently, the only way to visit the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is to book in advance. The nursery has strict opening hours and allows visits every day (except Christmas) from 11:00 to 12:00. The nursery only allows 100 visitors a day. Reservations can be made up to 3 months in advance and I recommend booking as soon as possible. Reservations cannot be made on the same day and must be made at least 2 days in advance. A minimum fee of KES 1,500 (US$15) must be paid in cash to enter kindergarten. However, it is most appreciated and encouraged. Reservations must be made throughSWT.
Pre-COVID there was an additional option to see the elephants through the SWF care program. I hope this option returns in the future. The welcome program provided guests with a more intimate experience. It allowed guests to sponsor an orphan with a contribution of KES 5,545 ($50). Guests received a photo of the chosen orphan and were able to visit him at 5 pm. Then guests had the opportunity to interact with the babies in the children's room.
Eonline versionfrom the breeding program is still available if you wish to donate to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. All funds raised go towards the overall care of the elephants. Each orphan's photo and story is available online, and you will receive updates on your chosen orphan throughout the year.
What to Expect from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
A visit to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is an incredible experience. I was lucky enough to visit when the foster program was available. At the time of my visit, the hours from 11am to 12pm were open to the public. It was a little crowded, but still an amazing time. During this time, the elephants return from the park for a midday feeding and mud bath.
I returned at 5pm for the welcome experience and joined a small group of people. The orphans returned from the afternoon in the park. On parade, they run to the kindergarten, where they are trapped in their enclosures. We then had the opportunity to freely roam around the nursery and visit the elephants.
Where to stay at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust?
The Longview Suites is the perfect hotel choice when visiting the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. It is just 4 km from the nursery and can be reached in less than 10 minutes by car. It's a simple, no-frills hotel with clean rooms and an on-site restaurant. Bear in mind that there isn't much beyond SWT, but it might be great for you if you'd rather escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
The Crowne Plaza has a few locations in Nairobi, but the airport location is excellent. It is just a few minutes from the airport and is a beautiful hotel. It's safe and a great option if your flight arrives late at night. It also offers a free shuttle service to the property.
The Boma is a beautiful hotel in the south of Nairobi. Airport transfers are available upon prior request. The hotel has spacious rooms, its own pool and spa. The front desk can also help you book activities.
Would you like to know more?
I really don't have enough good things to say about this extraordinary organization. The dedicated team does a lot for these animals. I encourage you to learn more and donate to SWT. To bewebsiteIt houses a wealth of information, as well as individual stories about each orphan.
There is also a wonderful documentary about the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust called Gardeners of Eden. Everyone can benefit from watching this movie (beware: tears may come). It contains pictures of the veterinary and anti-poaching units in action, which are a very important part of the organization. I have a lot of respect for this group of people who dedicate their lives to protecting these animals. I hope you see and like it.
Have you been to Nairobi? Have you ever visited the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust? I would like to hear about your experiences. If you liked this post, please leave a comment or share it using the social media buttons below. Do you want to visit giraffes in the meantime?in Nairobi? Go to my post "Como ficar no The Incredible Giraffe Manor“.
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