Who doesn’t love baby animals? The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust loves them extra hard. Not only do they rehab animals and get them back to their natural habitat, but they also provide veterinary care and do very important anti-poaching work.

If you’re visiting Nairobi, take a little time and go visit the nursery.

If you go for the morning visiting times, it’s a quick tour and you don’t get as up close and personal with the elephants. It is so much fun watching them run around and play in the dirt, roll in the dirt, and play with each other, the keepers explain how the nursery works and introduce the elephants and play with them and feed them. If all you have time for is a morning visit, it’s a great time and the proceeds go to support a wonderful cause and needed institution in Kenya.

The keepers that work there are amazing, very professional, and well trained, making up to a 10-year commitment to each of their babies in the nursery. I love that the keepers keep diaries that are published monthly for anyone to read. At about 3 years old, the babies are transferred with their keepers to a reintegration area, where they learn to be part of nature again. This is a long process, hence the up to 10-year commitment these keepers make to the babies. It’s a slow process from being a baby to being a young independent adult in nature and self-sufficient, and the keepers hang with them the whole time.

Later in the day, they offer a much more intimate experience for those who sponsor an animal (for a mere $50 for the whole year), you can watch them all come running down the road to be fed with an announcer calling out each elephant’s name as they come running from being out in the very large ‘yard’ they play and lounge in. After they are fed, watch them get escorted to their individual sleeping areas, where their assigned keeper often sleeps with them. They are given branches and they make ‘beds’ with them and eat the leaves, sometimes if you’re lucky, you can find a baby thief, stealing some from his neighbor by reaching a trunk under the fence and pulling them through the hole underneath, or drinking their neighbor’s water instead of their own. 

It’s important to note that Sheldrick is not just an elephant nursery and sanctuary, they do work that includes anti-poaching and mobile veterinary services via aerial surveillance, they also monitor and preserve wilderness areas to help protect the natural habitat of all animals, and they offer sanctuary and healing to all animals, not just elephants.

crowd watching feeding time at sheldrick

Founded in 1977 by Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick DBE, in memory of her late husband, famous naturalist David Leslie William Sheldrick. The Trust was to continue the conservation work she and her husband had started, the nursery there took in their first baby elephant in 1987, and after 45 years and over 280+ elephants having been rescued and rehabilitated, among so many others, this group is one worth supporting! It’s $50 a year to sponsor a baby elephant or rhino, with your sponsorship, comes a monthly email detailing your baby and how their rehab is going, with photos! And other very fun information and photos from the work the trust is doing. There was a baby giraffe graduation during the year my mom was sponsoring our babies, how exciting!

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