Meet the Woman Behind Kenya's Premier Elephant Orphanage

Dame Daphne Sheldrick is the mother of orphaned elephants in East Africa. More than four decades ago, Daphne and her husband David, the founding warden of Kenya's Tsavo National Park, began a program for abandoned baby elephants and other animals, such as rhinos, buffaloes, zebra, kudu, impala, warthogs, and more, struggling to survive on their own in the wild. Together, they raised, rehabilitated, and reintroduced these beautiful creatures to their natural habitat.

Shortly after losing her husband in 1977, Daphne continued this great work through the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which she created in his honor, and with it, the Orphans' Nursery set in the jungles of Nairobi National Park. She has since saved some 200 lives, one baby elephant at a time.

This special elephant orphanage is one of our favorite places to visit in Nairobi. Daphne, who also goes by “Dame” since being knighted in 2006 by Queen Elizabeth for her incredible contributions to wildlife conservation, is still hand-rearing newborn elephants at age 83! You can learn about her extraordinary life in her best-selling book, Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story.

Or better yet, you can come visit one of the most successful elephant rescue programs on the planet with us!

Photo courtesy of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Want to hug a baby elephant?

Learn more about how to meet these sweet babies, become a foster parent, and, most importantly, spend a day with these gentle giants and their surrogate human family at the Nairobi Nursery. If you have specific questions about your visit, please drop us a line at [email protected].

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John Moody