From Tragedy to Triumph: The Orphaned Elephants Rescued from Poachers’ Clutches


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The heartwarming sight of orphaned elephants playfully rolling in the mud, cuddling with their human caretakers, and seeking solace from their newfound family is genuinely captivating.

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) has been tirelessly working since 2001 to rescue and rehabilitate 101 orphaned elephants who lost their families to poaching, human-wildlife conflict, or habitat destruction.

The British-based charity Orphans’ Project has been instrumental in rescuing these elephants from remote parts of Kenya and working to reintegrate them back into the wild.

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These adorable young elephants are just some of the 101 animals which have been rescued from remote parts of Kenya by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust since 2001.

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Each has been rescued from ivory poachers, human conflict, or habitat destruction and has been taken into care at the trust’s elephant orphanage in Nairobi.

Rob Brandford, the director of DSWT, emphasizes the resilience of these elephants, stating, “Each orphan has their own tragic rescue story, but their struggle for survival and zest for life is infectious.”

Ivory poaching remains a significant threat to Africa’s elephant population. In the past year alone, the number of elephants rescued by the trust has increased by a staggering 500 percent.


Once rescued, these orphaned elephants are transported to the DSWT’s sanctuary in Nairobi National Park, Kenya’s haven for orphaned elephants.

Here, they receive round-the-clock care from dedicated human-elephant caretakers before reintegrating into the wild at one of DSWT’s three reintegration centers in the Greater Tsavo Conservation Area.

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Workers at the charity, which was founded in Britain and had headquarters in Nairobi, now care for the young elephants – helping them recover from injury and torture. Source: DSWT

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The young elephants enjoy being part of the ‘orphan’ family, and workers ensure they are integrated with both animals of their kind and humans before they are released. Source: DSWT

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Rob Brandford, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust director, said: ‘Each orphan has their own tragic rescue story, but their struggle of survival and zest for life is infectious.’ Source: DSWT

Two poignant examples of rescued elephants include Mbegu, a seven-week-old calf who survived a brutal revenge attack, and Barsilinga, whose mother was shot by poachers.


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One of the youngest orphans to be rescued is Mbegu – a seven-week-old baby elephant who was saved after being pelted with stones and spears in a revenge attack. Source: DSWT

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In the last year alone, ivory poaching has resulted in a 500 percent increase in the number of elephants rescued by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Source: DSWT

Both are now thriving under the care of the DSWT, demonstrating the incredible impact this organization has on the lives of these majestic creatures.

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The young elephants are cared for at the orphanage and taught how to feed, share, love, and care for each other before being carefully reintegrated back into the wild. Source: DSWT

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Once rescued from danger or conflict, infants are flown or driven to the charity’s orphanage in Nairobi National Park, which is Kenya’s safe haven for orphaned elephants. Source: DSWT


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The young elephants are ultimately reintegrated back into the wild at one of the trust’s three reintegration centers in the Greater Tsavo Conservation Area when grown. Source: DSWT

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A rescue team based at the trust’s Nairobi Headquarters is regularly called into action to help rescue injured elephants, and most are taken into care at the orphanage. Source: DSWT

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Mr Brandford said: ‘Each of the 101 elephants rescued has been orphaned, but they have been afforded a new herd in the form of our unusual human-elephant family.’ Source: DSWT


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