Sunday, August 19, 2007

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust


Just next to the Nairobi National Park is a nonprofit conservation trust which was established in 1977, shortly after the death of David Sheldrick. He and his wife, Daphne, were the first to use techniques of raising orphaned black rhinos and elephants, whose parents were killed due to poaching, in order to reintroduce them back into the wild. Of these animals, the elephants seem to get the most attention. It is for this reason that many refer to this wildlife trust as simply the Elephant Orphanage. For a donation of 300 Kenyan shillings patrons can come to view baby elephants being fed, playing soccer, and even receiving a mud bath from 11AM to Noon.

A baby elephant drinking milk

Eating leaves from a tree branch

As it was with the Giraffe Centre, it was possible to get so remarkably close to the baby elephants that I could even touch them. All that separated me from them was a small yellow rope about four feet high. We were all advised to watch our toes if an elephant walked by. Although they were still young, a baby elephant can weigh over 350 lbs!

A baby elephant fanning it's ears

Elephants playing soccer

Elephants are serious athletes!

Interesting Elephant Facts
  • An African elephant is larger than an Asian elephant and has enormous Africa shaped ears.
  • The largest African elephant recorded weighed over nine tons and stood more than twelve feet high at the shoulder.
  • Elephant trunks can get very heavy. It is not uncommon to see elephants resting them over a tusk!
  • Elephants don't drink with their trunks, but use them as "tools" to drink with. This is accomplished by filling the trunk with water and then using it as a hose to pour it into the elephant's mouth.
  • Elephants cry, play, have incredible memories, and laugh!
  • Elephants grieve at a loss of a stillborn baby, a family member, and in many cases other elephants.
  • Most of the communication between elephants cannot be heard by humans.
  • An elephant’s trunk is boneless and composed of 40,000 muscles.
  • An elephant’s trunk is powerful enough to kill a lion with a single swipe, yet the finger-like lobes at the end are adept enough to pluck a feather from the ground.
  • An elephants ears are packed with blood vessels, and when flapped, they quickly lower the animal’s body temperature.
  • An elephant can charge at more than 25 miles per hour.
  • An elephant has six sets of teeth, each replacing the next over it’s lifetime.
  • An adult elephant eats over 200lbs. of food per day.
  • When an elephant begins to lose it’s last set of teeth it starves to death.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Best Elephant Pictures Ever!

Perhaps he could play on the Frassati Soccer team!

Tim

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