The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) in Nairobi, Kenya has been a pioneer in wildlife conservation since 1977. Specializing in hand-rearing milk-dependent orphaned rhinos and elephants, DSWT credits much of their success over the past three decades to an orphaned elephant they named Olmeg.
In 1987, when Olmeg was just two weeks old, his herd was violently attacked by a group of poachers in Maralal, Northern Kenya. The elephant herd stampeded in reaction to the firing bullets, and baby Olmeg was left to perish in a ditch. Discovered by herdsmen the following day, this baby elephant was sunburnt and dehydrated with a growing infection at his umbilical cord site. The herdsmen took him to a safari lodge, but due to their lack of experience rearing infant elephants, the diet they fed Olmeg gave him severe diarrhea. Olmeg was fading fast, and the lodge workers knew immediate action was necessary to save him. Thankfully, DSWT, although a relatively new organization at the time, took in baby Olmeg.
Here is a touching image of baby Olmeg when he was rescued by DSWT’s founder Daphne Sheldrick in 1987.
When Olmeg arrived at DSWT, he was treated just like a human baby and allowed to share a home with Jill, the daughter of the Sheldrick family, on the expansive reserve. They soon learned just how time-consuming raising an infant elephant is. Olmeg required 24/7 care and attention. From cleaning his bed of straw several times a day to regular bottle feeding and many daily walks around the compounds, there was always something that had to be done to care for this orphan.
DSWT credits Olmeg for teaching them how to successfully rear orphaned baby elephants. With his help, they learned many valuable lessons: how to perfect a nutritious diet for baby elephants, that elephants (even babies) require a lot of personal space, that they require 24/7 devotion and care, and that elephants choose who they accept as their caretakers. Thanks to Olmeg, DSWT has successfully saved eighty orphaned baby elephants and rehabilitated 200 elephants to this date.
Please visit the DSWT website to stay updated on their work and donate to their beautiful cause.
Image Source: David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust / Facebook