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African elephants are incredibly threatened by poachers. With the illegal ivory trade–sadly–alive and well, it is estimated that between 35,000-50,000 African elephants are killed for their tusks every year. One of the most frequent and unfortunate results of this cruel trade are orphaned elephant babies. Elephants are highly emotional creatures that grieve just as deeply as humans do, so would say elephants do even more so.
To help with this growing number of orphaned elephants, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has stepped in, providing a home for orphans through their Orphan Elephant Project. The Trust founded this program to help conserve delicate African elephant populations. Raising the baby orphans together, they learn to interact with one another and are able to experience the familial bonding that is so important to elephants. Once they’re big enough, they go to “elephant school” where they learn how to survive in the wild and eventually they will be integrated back into wild herds.
Meet LimaLima, Zongoloni, and Quanza, three little orphan elephants who are on their way to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s newest location in the Kibwezi Forest at Umani Springs.
The journey to their new home will be long, but there is plenty of milk to keep their little mouths happy!
When they arrive at their destination, LimaLima, Longoloni, and Quanza are greeting by their friends Murera and Sonje.
The first stop on their tour of the facility is a nice dirt pile to have a refreshing dust bath.
Reunited once again, the five friends set of to explore all the new vegetation that is theirs to snack on.
Look how happy they are in their new home!
In time these little orphans will join a wild herd where they will receive foster elephant parents. Good luck, little friends!
Check out the full video of their journey to their new home below.