500 pictures of baby elephants

Last weekend I visited the David Sheldrake Wildlife Trust which is located just outside of Nairobi.  The organization raises baby elephants that have been orphaned, often due to poaching or hunting, and releases the elephants back into the wild when they are between eight and ten years old.

The process of raising a baby elephant is surprisingly difficult.  Baby elephants form intense emotional attachments to their mothers and can die of sadness when separated from their family.  Human keepers at the organization act as substitutes for the orphan elephant’s lost family and spend 24 hours a day with the baby elephants, even sleeping alongside them at night.  Bonds between a baby elephant and a keeper can be so strong that keepers are rotated between the different elephants each day so that a baby elephant does not become depressed when a specific keeper takes time off work or leaves the organization.  Psychological grief is life threatening to a baby elephant.

I have restrained myself from posting all 500 of the pictures that I took of these baby elephants, but here are a few of them.


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14 responses to “500 pictures of baby elephants”

  1. Jenn says :

    Amazing! I watched a documentary on the Trust a few years ago and follow them on Facebook. You are having such incredible experiences.

  2. Alison says :

    This is such a great place. I feel like maybe my calling is not human rights law, but taking care of baby elephants. Hmm, possible career change.

  3. Eleonora says :

    Those are amazing photos!

  4. friendlymedia01 says :

    All photographs are amazing..

  5. CM says :

    Wow – so neat! Though, it broke my heart to think of the baby elephant dying of greif without the work of the Trust.

    Thanks as always for taking us along on your journey through Africa through your excellent photos and moving descriptions. It is a pleasure to read.

  6. dearexpletivebaby says :

    I went in October when I was visiting Nairobi – such an amazing place. My husband had to take my camera away, I took so many photos! I adore the last shot you posted.

  7. BlueNova says :

    Even if you were to have posted all 500 of those baby elephant photos, I would still look at them one by one.
    All the pictures evoke an indescribable emotion in me.
    I love that picture of the baby elephant feeding with a giant milk bottle!

  8. lpphotosblog says :

    Wonderful pictures! Thanks for sharing…

  9. Karma says :

    Sounds like elephant depression and grief has similarities to what human’s experience. SOunds like the Trust has a great way of helping these elephants have lots of friends to make sure they don’t get sad! The photo’s are amazing! I can’t wait to see all 500 one day!

  10. Debbie Belote says :

    I happened onto your blog via WordPress, but the coincidence is that I am a huge fan of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Refuge and visit their website and Facebook page often. Thank you for indirectly verifying the lifesaving and quite wonderful work they do. My Christmas wish is for a least one of my gifts to be the sponsoring of a baby elephant. Thank you for sharing you travels and … more elephant pics, please!
    Debbie in Arkansas

  11. chetanshukla says :

    The blog was touching.To hear that baby elephants get so emotionally involved with the care takers is very touching ……..the photos are amazing too………..Feels really happy to hear about such caring ppl in this world…………….

  12. Daniel says :

    My mother loves elephants. A couple of years ago she moved, and we helped her to pack up. My job was to deal with the “elephant room”. Elephant pictures, books about elephants, elephant mugs, an elephant table, elephant scupltures, an elephant chess set…when I was finished, I had packed up 237 elephant-related items. Yes, I kept count.

  13. yeahnup says :

    oh lovely. Have you ever had your thumb sucked by one? There were a couple of orphaned baby elephants in the local sanctuary here, and one of them was a huge thumb sucker – she’d literally hook her trunk around your hand and pull your thumb into her mouth.

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