The David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage is a place of rescue, love, and hope. Every year, this remarkable place rescues and cares for orphaned elephants. The elephants here are loved and nurtured, and they receive the best possible care. This orphanage is a place of hope for these beautiful creatures.

The orphanage provides a safe haven for elephants that have been orphaned, abandoned, or injured. The elephants are cared for by a team of dedicated caregivers who love and nurture them back to health. The elephants at the orphanage are given a second chance at life and are able to live out their lives in a safe and loving environment.

The David Sheldrick wildlife trust, a non-profit, runs this unique and pioneer orphanage in Kenya.  They orphaned for several reasons. Some of them natural, but sadly majorly caused with the human hand. Naturally, may the mother died out of natural reasons or just the baby genuinely got separated from the family herd and could not trace them or its way back to the family herd. Climate change has also had a pivotal role on the welfare of African elephants but also entirely on the wildlife species and spaces. As such some of this baby elephants have lost their mothers due to drought, starvation and luck of fresh pastures, for grazing and browsing if any.


Sadly, the main reason for these baby elephants been orphaned is poaching, which remains a big thorn for the African bush elephants, in East Africa major parks, including the Serengeti national park in Tanzania, Maasai Mara in Kenya, Tsavo National Park Kenya. Poachers will mainly Kill large elephants and rhinos for there ivory to be sold in the black market. When the mother elephant is killed, the young baby elephant can only survive without milk for a day or two, so the orphanages first job is to find the orphans, fly them to the orphanage and before anything else feed them.

The principle of the orphanage, head nurse, headmistress, CEO and founder was the late Dame Daphne Sheldrick and worked with elephants for over 50years. The distress calls come from all over Kenya and East Africa.   It’s a case of race against time, as every minute counts in the life of this rescued baby elephants. Dame Daphne Sheldrick was born and raised in Kenya and as fate would have it married David Sheldrick Africa leading crusader against poaching.  When he died in 1977, she founded the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which is located inside the Nairobi National Park. Daphne saw her mission as saving as many elephants as possible. 

However, she cautiously embraced her mission with minimal hope, well because she lost half of the baby elephants that arrived at the orphanage some from Pneumonia and the scathy of them all trauma. A baby orphaned elephant that witnessed its mother’s death will remember everything as elephants never forget. This places them, the baby elephants in a state of grief, shock and elephants are very intolerant to grief and can even die of it. Hence, they require a lot of Tender Loving Care, what Daphne used to call, TLC, and lots of it.

Daphne does not run the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust alone. She has a team of dedicated keepers who have dedicated their lives in taking care of this baby orphaned elephants, and act as surrogate mothers preparing this elephant until and when they’ll be ready to be re-introduced back into the wild. This nursery caters for orphaned baby elephants that are 3years old and younger who need formular milk to survive. All the keepers give this orphan is love. Julius a keeper at the nursery for 13years said this, ‘’our main goal and our main target, it is to rescue them all and be able to give them that second chance of surving back to nature.” Nairobi National Park has a concentration of all animal wildlife ranging from lions, rhinos, warthogs, leopards, giraffes among others of which this baby elephants live alongside. 

Eventually its hope that the baby elephants will graduate from the nursery back to the wild. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has two such centers where reintegration takes place for this baby elephants in readiness for them to be released into the wild in protected areas.  The first is the Ithumba Reintegration Unit, in the northern area of Tsavo East National Park. This is the next phase for an orphan before heading back into a wildlife protected area and eventually joining a wild herd. The second is the Umani Springs Reintegration Unit within Kibwezi Forest, which accommodates elephants with disabilities.


All of us can do so much in ensuring our futures generation have a chance of witnessing and enjoying this flora and fauna of this world by doing our part now in protecting, conserving and ensuring stop poaching and not supporting all proceeds of poaching. We can give our wildlife a human face and the best of side of humanity. Just as a daphne once said, ‘’Elephants have all the same emotions as humans, minus hatred. ‘’IF’’ they have hatred we humans taught it to the them.’’ WOW!

Join us at RUSTIC NATURE TOURS and let help you experience this top Nairobi Wildlife Tour within minutes of your arrival on the wildlife capital, Nairobi Kenya. We have daily tours to the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage and not to forget the Nairobi National Park and Giraffe Centre and the Giraffe Manor!