Four years ago I was in Kenya. In planning the things we wanted to do, I discovered the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and its “elephant orphanage” (www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org ).
After reading about their efforts to save the elephants and rhinos in Kenya, I became a sponsor of a baby named Zurura. At around 2 months old he fell into an open pit ruby mine and was trapped. From the torn up ground around where he was found, it was obvious the herd tried a long time to rescue him before they were forced to flee. This photo is from his rescue.
He was taken to the “nursery” in Nairobi where he was treated for his injuries and became part of the mini herd of orphaned babies cared for by the trained keepers.
And while we were in Kenya we had the wonderful opportunity to meet and spend some time with him! It was amazing to actually be able to stroke him.
Now little Zurura (which is Swahili for The Wanderer) is a rambunctious little guy and was shipped a year later to one of their “halfway homes” in Tsavo Park. This is where the elephants learn to be free. It’s also where ornery little boys can be disciplined by the big boys. The elephants themselves decide when they want to “cut the apron strings” and live in the wild.
For the last couple years Zurura has thrived there. Just a few days ago I received this email update:
"This month Zurura has promoted himself to the Seniors, one day simply refusing to go into his Night Stockade as usual, and instead joining a Splinter Group of Ex Orphans led by Naserian…”
My little bitty elephant has grown up and is living free.
And that is what it’s all about.