THE SHEDRICK WILDLIFE TRUST
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is a small, flexible charity, established in 1977 to honour to memory of a famous Naturalist, David Leslie William Sheldrick MBE, the founder Warden of Tsavo East National Park in Kenya, where he served from its inception in 1948 until his transfer to Nairobi in 1976 to head the Planning Unit of the newly created Wildlife Conservation & Management Department. David died 6 months later but his legacy of excellence and the systems he installed for the management of Tsavo and wildlife generally in Kenya, particularly in the sphere of wildlife husbandry and ethics, lives on.
The Trust also pioneered the successful hand-rearing and complicated strategy of successful rehabilitation back into established wild rhino communities of orphaned Black Rhino calves. Its expertise has been responsible for saving many orphaned rhino calves on Kenya’s Private Ranches as well as elsewhere in Africa. Its hands-on practical experience and inside knowledge of this species is unmatched.
The same can be said of Elephants, for the Trust can claim another important first. Daphne Sheldrick was the first person in the entire world to successfully hand rear newborn fully milk dependent African Elephant orphans, something that spanned 28 years of trial and error to achieve. By the year 2008 the Trust had successfully saved and hand-reared over 82 infant African Elephant calves, two from the day of birth. Currently, over 40 of the Trust’s hand-reared elephants are fully established and living free amongst their wild peers in Tsavo, some returning with wild born young to show their erstwhile human family. Based at two established Elephant Rehabilitation Centers within Tsavo East National Park others are still in the gradual process of re-integration with yet others in early infancy at the Trust’s Nairobi National Park Elephant and Rhino Nursery. The Trust has trained a team of competent Elephant Keeper who replace the orphans’ lost elephant family until such time as the transition to the wild herds has been accomplished, something that can take up to l0 years, since elephant calves duplicate their human counterparts in terms of development through age progression. Those that were orphaned too young to recall their elephant family remain dependent longer, but all the Trust’s orphans eventually take their rightful place amongst their wild counterparts, including those orphaned on the day they were born.
Since its inception, the Trust has remained true to his principles and ideals, its modus of operation overseen by 6 competent and well versed Trustees assisted by an Advisory Committee of practical Naturalists with a lifetime experience of wildlife, local environmental conditions and the history of conservation in this country SHELDRICK TRUST