Care For The Wild Press Release:
Four orphaned baby elephants have been rescued in the last two weeks in Kenya by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) – suggesting that poaching levels are continuing to rise.
The charity, which will protect the baby elephants through an adoption programme run with the support of UK charity Care for the Wild, has now rescued 28 baby elephants in 2012 alone.
Three of the elephants are reported to be victims of poaching for the illegal ivory trade, left alone after their mothers were killed by poachers. The fourth elephant Lemoyian, was rescued from a man-made well having fallen and become trapped.
Philip Mansbridge, Chief Executive of Care for the Wild, said: “This is fantastic work by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. These orphans have the ‘awww’ factor, but we must also focus on the big picture – poaching is at record levels, and if the international community doesn’t do something to stop it, there won’t be anything left to rescue.”
As poaching continues to escalate, elephant numbers have fallen from 1.3 million in 1979 to an estimated 400,000. Presently up to 36,000 elephants are being killed every year for their tusks, left unchecked, this level of poaching would see wild elephants in Africa disappear by 2025.
The DSWT and Care for the Wild are working together to protect elephants in their natural habitats and to provide for those orphaned through poaching, so that they can return to the wild when grown.
Between Thursday 27th September and Thursday 11th October, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust was called to rescue 4 individual orphaned elephants; alone and with no hope of survival without intervention.
Rob Brandford, UK Director of DSWT, said the four elephants, and 24 others already rescued by the DSWT in 2012, would not have survived on their own in the wild.
“Infant elephants require milk every 3 hours until the age of 2. At the DSWT elephant orphanage, specialist keepers assume the role of the elephants’ family and provide 24 hour care. These elephants now have the chance to grow up and return to the wild when they are ready to do so.”
Working on the front line in the protection of elephants, and all wildlife in Kenya, the DSWT is confronted by the impact of illegal poaching on a daily basis. Their life-saving work is directly supported by Care for the Wild, which has a long-standing relationship with the DSWT through an elephant adoption scheme, running parallel to the DSWT’s own digital fostering programme.
At the elephant orphanage in Nairobi, rescued baby elephants are hand-reared and reintegrated back into the wild within Tsavo National Park, where the DSWT and Care for the Wild both operate anti-poaching patrols.
Commenting on the importance of this work Philip Mansbridge said: “Care for the Wild has a longstanding partnership with the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust to rescue and care for orphaned elephants who have suffered the loss of their mothers at the hands of poachers. Only through the long term commitment of our supporters can we continue this vital work in protecting Kenya’s future generations of elephants.”
Philip adds: “If you would like to adopt an elephant to help give orphaned elephants a second chance, please visit Care For The Wild or Sheldrick Wildlife Trust“