Bench supports The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust at AHIF 2018
Bench is extremely proud to support The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) at AHIF 2018 as our designated charity for the event. During our charity auction at the evening networking reception at the Fairmont The Norfolk Hotel, delegates had the chance to contribute to this amazing charity by bidding for two exclusive and unique Elephant Adoption packages sponsored by Finch Hattons Luxury Tented Camp and Angama Mara. We also auctioned four wonderful vouchers donated by Hilton, Mantis Collection, Onomo Hotels and The Machrie Hotel through silent auction.
We were thrilled to raise a total of $38,000 throughout the evening. All funds have been donated directly to The DSWT to support their work in the rescue of orphaned elephants and the protection of Kenya’s wildlife.
OVERVIEW OF THE DAVID SHELDRICK WILDLIFE TRUST
Unfortunately, Africa’s wildlife is being pushed to the brink of extinction. The lucrative illegal ivory trade is killing up to 55 elephants a day, and incidents of human‐wildlife conflict are on the rise due to an ever-increasing human footprint, leaving behind injured and orphaned wild animals that would not survive without intervention. Habitat destruction is endangering important biodiversity areas. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) works in partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service at a field level every day to put an end to poaching, preserve endangered habitats, treat injured wild animals and to rescue and rehabilitate orphans so that they can return to the wild when grown.
- The DSWT has pioneered the hand-raising of orphaned baby elephants, including discovering the formula of milk that best replicates an adult female elephant’s milk.
- The DSWT has hand‐reared over 200 orphaned infant elephants and with more than 130 of these elephants now living back in the wild, is the most successful elephant orphanage in the world.
- More than 200km of electric fencing erected, and maintained, on sensitive wildlife boundaries to mitigate human-wildlife conflict, benefiting communities and wildlife.
- Through De‐Snaring Teams, they patrol fragile ecosystems and monitor wildlife populations. Since 2013, the teams have made over 1,900 arrests and removed more than 125,000 snares.
- The DSWT/KWS Mobile Veterinary Units and Sky Vet have attended to more than 2,297 elephant cases and 5,425 wild animals.
THE DSWT ORPHANS’ PROJECT
For 40 years the DSWT has been rescuing and hand‐rearing milk dependent orphaned baby elephants so that they can return to the wild after development. Their founder, the late Dame Daphne Sheldrick DBE, pioneered the milk formula and husbandry necessary to successfully hand‐rear milk dependent baby elephants, which would otherwise not survive.
On call every day of the year, the DSWT travel throughout Kenya to rescue orphaned elephants and rhinos left alone with no hope of survival. Many of the rescued orphans are victims of poaching and human‐wildlife conflict and are in a terrible state of emaciation and distress; in fact, between 2003 and 2013, the number of orphaned elephant rescues climbed 500%.
Financial support ensures the DSWT can attend to every orphaned calf in need of help through the rapid deployment of a Rescue Team transported via air or road and offer traumatised, orphaned baby elephants the best chance of survival. After each orphan rescue, a long and complex process of rehabilitation begins at the DSWT’s Nursery nestled inside the Nairobi National Park. The milk‐dependent elephant calves are cared for, and emotionally and physically healed by the DSWT’s dedicated team of Elephant Keepers. These loving Keepers, born into local communities throughout Kenya, take on the demanding role and responsibility of becoming each orphan’s adopted family during their rehabilitation.
Acting as surrogate mothers, the Keepers feed the babies milk every 3 hours and accompany them 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is this close family bond created with the Keepers and the other rescued elephants that helps the newest orphans to overcome the trauma they have endured within a short span, which may include having witnessed the slaughter of their mother for her tusks. Like human’s, elephants’ hold strong family bonds and the loss of their mother can have a devastating effect on their psychological state. As they mourn, they often refuse to eat and sometimes die from the level of emotional pain caused. It is the support of the orphanage that helps them overcome this loss. This support is provided for the protection and survival of the vulnerable species.
Each elephant remains at the Nursery until they are ready to take the journey to one of the three Reintegration Units at Voi or Ithumba in Tsavo East National Park, and in the Kibwezi Forest. In this second phase of rehabilitation at the Reintegration Units, one can proudly witness each orphan elephant’s gradual transition, back into wild herds, at its own pace – often over a period of up to ten years. They learn the lessons of the wild and become capable of living their life in the wild, as is their birth-right. To ensure their safety, the DSWT in partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service operates twelve De‐Snaring Teams, as well as Aerial Surveillance operations throughout the Tsavo ecosystem. Up to 1,000 hours are flown annually by DSWT Aerial Unit.
To show support for The DSWT and its noble initiatives, please visit: www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org