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Project information

Give 30 orphaned elephants a second chance at life

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is on call every day of the year, travelling across Kenya to rescue and rehabilitate orphaned baby elephants, found alone with no hope of survival without our intervention. Due to ivory poaching we are seeing more elephants in need and must be ready to rescue them.

One year

Charity information: The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust logo
  • Need


    Every day throughout Africa elephants are being killed needlessly for their ivory, leaving behind vulnerable orphaned baby elephants. Without milk & care, these babies would die alone in the wild.

    The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) offers hope for the future of Kenya's threatened elephant populations through the rescue and rehabilitation of orphaned wildlife.


    We aim to solve this problem by providing lifesaving care for orphaned baby elephants. The Orphans' Project is part of the DSWT's vision in creating hope and a future for elephants orphaned through poaching, deforestation and human-wildlife conflict.

    By providing specialist husbandry and milk formula through the rescue and rehabilitation of orphaned wildlife, we can ensure each orphaned elephant can ultimately live a wild life and begin families of their own.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Bring life saving care to any orphaned baby elephant in Kenya; to return to the wild when grown.


    » Deploy a team of specialist elephant keepers via land or air to attend to an orphaned elephant
    » Administer essential medical treatment, rehydrates, milk formula and care required in each unique rescue case
    » Offer 24 hour a day surrogate care to help an orphaned elephant overcome the physical and emotional trauma of losing its mother
    » After 5-6 yrs, to reintegrate the orphaned elephant into the wild elephant herds of Tsavo National Park

    What success will look like

    Through the effective rescue of orphaned elephants, a detailed report will be released on the number of elephants rescued across Kenya over one year

    Aim 2

    To support wild elephant populations within Kenya.


    » Orphaned elephants are cared for until they are ready to return to the wild. Once wild, they go on to have their own families
    » Three reintegration centres provide drinking water for wild elephants during the dry season, reducing human-wildlife conflict over scarce resources
    » Three elephant reintegration centres act as safe havens for orphaned elephants and wild elephants during a time of high ivory poaching

    What success will look like

    We will monitor the number of elephants successfully reintegrated into the expanses of Tsavo National Park and release a report on the DSWT funded elephant count

    Aim 3

    To educate the wider Kenyan community as to the importance of wildlife protection.


    » Provide school trips for local children to the orphanage and DSWT projects to learn about elephants and their environment
    » Generate media coverage within Kenya of newly rescued elephants, why rescued and why it is critical to local people that the species is protected

    What success will look like

    Through documenting the number of children and adults who are introduced daily to the Orphans' Project in Nairobi National Park, which averages at 70,000 annually

  • Impact


    The long term changes for this project will be witnessed through the reintegration success of each orphaned elephant.

    In addition, wild elephants support eco-tourism, a large and growing global industry which is dependent upon the survival of the natural environment and wildlife. This project also educates and informs the Kenyan and larger global community about the plight of elephants and the value of the species on the world environmentally and economically.


    The DSWT has been working in the field for over 35 years and in that time 160 orphaned elephants have been successfully rescued and hand-reared. Risks include rescues in high conflict areas and also the condition of each orphan upon arrival can pose a risk to the success of a rescue.

    The majority of risks through carrying out these rescues have been dramatically minimised over the years through expertise, well-trained staff & the experience of Dame Daphne Sheldrick.


    Specific elephant orphan rescue and care updates will be sent to named donors. More widely, existing social media, print and email communication channels will be used for our larger supporter base.

    Our Annual Report will also clearly outline all elements of the project from start to finish.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £35,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £30,000 Rescue Operations Rescue plane and additional vehicle costs
      £3,000 Elephant Rescue Kit Essential equipment needed for each rescue
      £2,000 Sustenance Food, drink and rehydrates for each elephant orphan
  • Background


    The DSWT responds to every case across the whole of Kenya. We are able to locate elephant calves in the most desolate of areas and transport them to the safety of the Orphans' Project Headquarters which is based in Nairobi National Park. It is here our team of experienced elephant Keepers and Veterinary Teams are on hand to provide life-saving care.


    This particular project will benefit the 30 orphaned elephants in need.

    Beyond this, the long term and indirect benefits will support the people of Kenya and their economy who rely so heavily on the elephant for survival and an income through tourism, with a revenue of £450,000,000. Saving the elephants and reintegrating orphans means preventing poverty and sustaining livelihoods.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Over 35 years' wildlife conservation experience within Kenya and recognised as one of the pioneering conservation organisations in East Africa, the DSWT are best placed to carry out this project.

    Founder of the DSWT, Dame Daphne Sheldrick was the first person to perfect the milk formula and necessary husbandry for infant milk-dependent elephants and rhinos and is today proud to head the largest and most successful elephant orphanage in the world.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Elephant Keepers

    The role of the elephant keepers is vital to the survival of the elephant orphans as they provide 24 hour care and nutrition to each calf.

    Dame Daphne Sheldrick

    As the founder of the DSWT, Daphne Sheldrick provides the experience & dedication needed to ensure the orphans have the very best chance of survival.

    Wildlife Rangers

    Wildlife Rangers across the whole of Kenya are on hand to alert the DSWT on specific cases which we can then efficiently and effectively attend to.

Elephant orphan rescue

Elephant orphan rescue


1 month care of an orphaned elephant