In Africa, elephants have a lot to worry about. Between the fear of being poached for their ivory tusks, losing loved ones to poaching, and being captured in their own home to be relocated to circuses, zoos, or tourism operations, every day an elephant survives in the wild is truly a miracle. It is currently estimated that about 100 elephants are poached every single day.
Thankfully, there are organizations that go above and beyond to help elephants and are doing everything they can to make sure this species is not wiped off the face of the earth within our lifetime. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT), for example, is an organization that takes in orphaned baby elephants. DSWT staff provide emotional support for elephants, make sure they are fed and hydrated, and pretty much teach them everything they need to know about being an elephant. Many of the elephants that are rescued by DSWT come from terrible situations. Some are extremely weak and emaciated, some witnessed the deaths of their parents, and some have just been having a tough time surviving in the wild.
Sana Sana, is an elephant who was recently rescued by DSWT. The staff at DSWT heard about her situation from the team at Namunyak Conservancy in northern Kenya. Apparently, Sana Sana would frequently visit the conservancy and rest near their facility. When DSWT saw her condition, it suddenly became obvious why this elephant would come and seek shelter near humans. She had been mauled by a hyena, had a nasty wound under her tail, and seemed generally lonely and exhausted. At first, there was a bit of a dispute between the conservancy and DSWT. The conservancy wanted to keep Sana Sana nearby and eventually assimilate her back into the wild. DSWT was less optimistic about that plan and felt that the sweet elephant would be better off under their care. Eventually, it was decided that Sana Sana would be transported to DSWT headquarters for permanent residence.
We’ll never know whether Sana Sana would have made it on her own in the wild. However, by the look of gratitude on her face, she seems very happy to be heading home with the DSWT staff. Somehow she knows she’s in safe hands. Elephants can be so perceptive!
While every elephant that is rescued is indeed a victory for this species, there is still so much work to be done. The ivory trade has not been completely eliminated, there are still circuses that employ elephants, and zoos are still at it with new tactics to make sure visitors are distracted from the abuse. Nevertheless, it is important to celebrate the elephants who are in safe hands and do everything we can to mitigate the number of elephants captured and killed in the wild. To learn about how you can help elephants, click here.