Posted by Nadya on Sep 12, 2011
As you may already know, I raise money through sales of my elephant-themed art and photographs to support my two foster babies… BIG foster babies. They are elephants!
One is a baby elephant named Sities, who was rescued last year by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya, and whom I have been supporting through their Elephant Orphan Fostering program. Of course, the donation goes to help all the orphans at the Trust, not just her, but she is my baby all the same.
Little Sities is a suspected victim of poaching or human-elephant conflict. Without her mother, left all alone in the world, apparently she wandered into Mgeno Ranch in the Tsavo Conservation Area, crying and desperate for company! There is a wonderful documentary made about her rescue – “For the Love of Elephants”.
I began sponsoring her last year because she was the youngest baby at the time, but actually, she has become a bit of a movie star since her rescue, recovering in body and spirit and growing up to be a feisty, outgoing little elephant who is a favourite of all the visitors. According to the Keepers Diary, “ Sities has a trick. She jumps out of the mudbath and runs to the cordon to smear mud on all the visitors before racing back into the mudbath again!”
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s ultimate goal with rescuing and raising all their orphaned animals is to return them to the wild, and they have succeeded – many of their older elephants now live happy, wild lives, dropping by to visit their favourite people and to teach the younger orphans how to be wild elephants. They also come back to the Trust when they are injured or need help – which just demonstrates what a wonderful bond these people have created with these wise and intelligent creatures!
I have been following Sities’ progress for over a year now, reading the email updates and the Keepers’ Diaries. My parents also support two other elephants at the DSWT – Sabachi and Suguta, both slightly older orphans who are growing up and learning to be wild elephants again.
So for my birthday at the end of August, my wonderful husband – who knows exactly what I like – bought me a great gift. He sponsored another elephant for me!
This little Asian elephant, Philip Dev, has a dramatic story – he was rescued from a deep ravine in May this year, and I have been following updates about him ever since. “The young, male calf had fallen into a deep ravine and become stuck. His mother, more than likely responding to his distress calls, followed him into the ravine and became trapped as well. The rescue team comprising of the Forest Department, vets from the IFAW-WTI run Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC), and two Mobile Veterinary Service units reached the site to find the calf severely injured and unable to stand. Unfortunately his mother succumbed to her injuries and died before she could be freed. The young calf was taken to the CWRC where he underwent intensive care for both the physical bruises and cuts that covered his small body and the grief of losing his mother.”
His story really touched me – as did my husband’s gift. I truly hope this little one will grow up to be a big, handsome, independent wild bull elephant, and stays safe! It seems that he is recovering and learning to enjoy life again, making friends with the other orphaned elephants, and is in very good hands.
Australian organisation Animal Works hosts the fostering program for the Asian elephant orphans at the CWRC, and like the DSWT, has regular updates on how the little ones are doing and how they will eventually return to the wild. Their mission statement is “conservation through education” and I’m so glad to support them.