The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust – An Animal Orphanage in Nairobi

There are one too many places to visit in Nairobi, and you definitely shouldn’t miss out on the David Sheldrick Animal Orphanage.

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is basically an orphaned elephant & rhino rescue program that was founded in 1977 by Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick in honour of her husband David Sheldrick who was the founder of the Tsavo East National Park. Their funding comes entirely from donations made by visitors and animal lovers in general.

One of the most successful & famous ones today, this rehabilitation program aims at rescuing and nurturing orphaned elephants & rhinos, some of them as young as only 2 months, before preparing and sending them off into the wild again.

They name these infants based on where they were found or an article that was found near them at the time of rescue.

Having raised over 150 baby elephants till now, their caretakers find it difficult to let them go, having had a number of incidents when these babies have found their way back from Tsavo East National Park to the orphanage as an outcome of a strong attachment with the keepers, and of course, their sharp memory.

Every elephant has his/her own shed and sleeps with a caretaker. In order to avoid attachment, they change each baby’s caretaker every night.

Another great thing the orphanage offers to visitors is adoption!

You can adopt a baby elephant for just 50 USD a year. This is one of their main sources of funding. You get an adoption certificate, regular updates on your little infant, and once he/she is off to the wild, you can always have him/her traced and meet your tamed wild child. I ended up adopting one myself, a naughty little boy named Rapa!

Definitely one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been to, the orphanage showed me just how strong animal-man bondage can be.

This was my fifth visit to the place, and yet I’m blown away every single time I go.

If you’re ever in Nairobi, take my word and do not miss out on this experience.

Here are a few pictures of the little ones!


Heading over to meet everyone:


Their milk bottles:

their milk bottles


Learning how to hold his own bottle!:

learning how to hold his own milk bottle


Just hungry:

just hungry


New entrants to the orphanage:

new entrants at the orphanage


Not quite clean after that bath though:

not quite clean after that bath


I’m not sure if that’s what they meant by tumble dry:

tumble dry


Big baby bums:

big baby bums

To learn more about the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and how you can help, head over to their website