Wendi is an orphaned elephant who was found alone in a swamp in Kenya’s Imenti forest back in 2002. She was only a week old at the time, with a moist umbilical cord still in place and no one to look after her. Luckily for Wendi, the kind people at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) Orphans Project were there to help. The Orphan’s Project provides a home for Africa’s orphaned baby elephants, many of whom are the victims of Africa’s barbaric ivory trade. Every fifteen minutes an elephant is killed for its ivory and sadly, for every adult that is killed, it means that a young baby is left behind.
This brutality may have been a part of Wendi’s early life, but growing up at DSWT in a world full of love, she never had to worry about such things again. Now, DSWT is proud to announce that Wendi has given birth to her own calf, a baby elephant who will never know what it is to grow up without a mother.
One of her former caretakers writes, “Wendi bringing new life into the world is a true miracle. We rescued Wendi when she was only days old in 2002, a victim of poaching. So young that we do not believe she even received her mother’s colostrum, so we gave her powdered colostrum in her first bottles of milk. Wendi surviving was a miracle, made possible by our dedicated team of carers and their knowledge and expertise.”
With poverty and organized crime driving the trade, recent ivory prices have soared as high as $2,100 a kilo. At this rate, there is a very good chance that Africa’s wild elephant’s will be going extinct within the next fifteen years. But, with orphans like Wendi forming their own herds and even having their own babies, there is a now an opportunity to for these animals to be reintroduced into protected areas, giving the species a fighting chance.
The work at DSWT is not only limited to The Orphan’s Project. DSWT now deploys eight full time anti poaching units. This team of dedicated workers covers a massive area, including all of Kenya’s Tsavo National Parks, the Chyulu Hills National Park, the Kibwezi Forest Reserve and land bordering private ranches in the area. They work on the ground with vans, camping equipment, cameras, radios and an areal unit, in hot pursuit of poachers. They also work with the Kenyan Wildlife Service to provide medical care for wild animals injured in poaching attempts. Every month each unit confiscates snares, weapons, charcoal kilns and locates poaching camps, assisting with the arrest of poachers and other wildlife offenders.
In a perfect world, by the time Wendi’s little grows up, poaching will be a thing of the past. But even if that is not the case, with the continued efforts of the kind people at DSWT, Kenya’s elephants are getting the help that they need for the species to make it through this difficult time. If you would like to foster an elephant, donate or learn more about this organization, visit their website or click here.
All image source: DSWT/Facebook