David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust | Adopting an Elephant!

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust | Adopting an Elephant!

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I have always had a deep love for elephants. I think they are incredible creatures and have so many human like qualities that make them relatable. They are the gentle giants of the african plains and graceful grazers of the asian forests. Everything about them I have always enjoyed studying from the very first elephant toy to the countless documentaries I have seen. With all that said you can imagine my excitement when I found out that on my trip to Kenya we would be stopping at The David Sheldrick Widlife Trust.

If you don’t know what that means, here’s who they are:

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Mission statement

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust embraces all measures that compliment the conservation, preservation and protection of wildlife. These include anti-poaching, safe guarding the natural environment, enhancing community awareness, addressing animal welfare issues, providing veterinary assistance to animals in need, rescuing and hand rearing elephant and rhino orphans, along with other species that can ultimately enjoy a quality of life in wild terms when grown.

One of the main ongoing projects at the trust is their orphan project which includes rescuing and hand-rearing orphaned elephants. I couldn’t wait to get there.

What they say about the elephant orphan project:

At the heart of the DSWT’s conservation activities is the Orphans’ Project, which has achieved world-wide acclaim through its hugely successful elephant and rhino rescue and rehabilitation program. The Orphans’ Project exists to offer hope for the future of Kenya’s threatened elephant and rhino populations as they struggle against the threat of poaching for their ivory and horn, and the loss of habitat due to human population pressures and conflict, deforestation and drought.

 

To date the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has successfully hand-raised over 150 infant elephants and has accomplished its long-term conservation priority by effectively reintegrating orphans back into the wild herds of Tsavo, claiming many healthy wild-born calves from former-orphaned elephants raised in our care.

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You pre-book a place beforehand and pay a small fee to go and see the elephants, usually when they get back from a walk and go to bathe. The keepers hand feed them using bottles of specially mixed milk. It’s a great sight to see and if you love elephants then you’ll be in your element. Its great to see the elephants playing around and messing about in the mud with each other and whats also great to see is the bond the keepers share with each individual animal. The keepers become their surrogate parents and are with them 24/7 feeding, walking, bathing, playing and sleeping.

SlipTiring being an Elephant

Bros

Elephants by Jack Gunns on 500px.comIMG_0097

One Man & His Elephant by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

Your given the opportunity to adopt an elephant and donate towards the upkeep of the trust. Of course I did this when I was there, it was about £30 ($50) you can obviously pay more than this if you wish. Adopting an elephant let me re-visit the trust at the end of my trip to help put young Kibo (my adopted elephant) to bed as well as help bottle feed him. It finished my trip in Kenya on a high and was great to get a real intimate personal time with the orphaned elephants who were all a lot more inquisitive once there wasn’t a crowd of people around and just as playful! You also get regular updates about your elephant even after they grow up and introduced back into the wild, I often get e-mails telling me how Kibo and the new orphans are getting on.

Adopting an elephant

I’d really recommend visiting this place and I’m sure you’ll agree seeing the amazing work they are doing to help orphaned animals all over Africa. Keep supporting this essential wildlife trust. You also see some rhino and giraffes whilst your there!

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If you’d like to see more of my travel photos from Kenya or my other photography then check my social links!

Flickr | 500px

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Kenya | Travel Talk Pt.2

Kenya | Travel Talk Pt.2

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The kenyan adventure continues…

The second part of the trip was all about safari. We woke up early and departed our home in Malindi and headed for our first game park Tsavo East. We stopped off at a small shop on the way to get snacks and some souvenirs and were able to walk down to a river – where there were hippos and crocodiles. No barriers – we were truly up close and personal with animals now.

We headed off through the reserve and got our first taste of the safari experience – amazing. (All Photographs are my own copyright 2015)

Our first camp was an eco camp that was set up with large green tents right in the heart of the reserve. The camp looked out over a watering hole where a group of elephants and buffalos were gathered. Amazing to watch these gentle giants up so close. I think that was what was the most overwhelming – not realising quite how close you would be to so many of these wild animals. At night you could hear loud noises and on the morning game drives you’d see the aftermath. Dining with lions for breakfast.

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Eco-Camp in Tsavo East | Copyright Jack Gunns 2015

Elephant Eyes by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

Flying Antelope by Jack Gunns on 500px.com 

Buffalo Soldier by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

Simba by Jack Gunns on 500px.com 

Hide and Seek by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

After exploring Tsavo East we headed for the next national park – Amboseli the home of Elephants. Staying at Kilima Safari Camp were we were given a quick break to refresh and then headed out on some more game drives. The hotel and staff were very friendly and the bedrooms were incredible and there was also two large pools and the facilities were great – not what you would expect to find out in the wilderness. We climbed the tower to watch a burning red sunset behind Mount Kilimanjaro and were treated to a relaxed evening around a fire pit with music. A truly spectacular hotel that sits underneath he magnificent Mt.Kilamanjaro. k2

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Kilima Safari Camp | Copyright Jack Gunns 2015

Elephant Crossing

Monk II by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

Tribal Bird by Jack Gunns on 500px.com 

Cheetah. by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

We got the chance to visit Mzima Springs and although it was the height of a drought we still managed to see a few hippos and wildlife. I’d definitely recommend seeing this place especially when it is in full bloom there are usually hundreds of hippopotamuses! Smile

Our final stop ‘The Severin Safari Camp‘ in the Tsavo west part of the reserve was another amazing place to stay. Being upgraded to the royal suites on arrival with outside private showers and a watering hole right beside our balcony was a truly luxurious experience. The facilities here were top class and you were escorted between the lodges and the main restaurant reception areas by Masai warriors in case you bumped into any wildlife on the way…More game drives and our final chances to spot animals. Finishing off watching elephants and giraffes wander around the watering hole by our balconies at sunset – priceless. If your looking for a luxurious safari experience right in the heart ion everything then this place is for you!

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Severin Safari Camp | Copyright Jack Gunns 2015
source: http://www.severin-hotels.com/severin-safari-camp/tents-suites/
source: http://www.severin-hotels.com/severin-safari-camp/tents-suites/

it’s days like these that I #wish I was on #safari in #hot #africa #goingback #oneday

A photo posted by Jack Gunns (@jackgunns) on

Elephantidae by Jack Gunns on 500px.com 

Elephant & the Bird by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

On Safari by Jack Gunns on 500px.com 

Zebra Crossing by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

The journey of our safari had come to an end after a week of roaming the national parks and witnessing some truly spectacular sights. I think i’ll finish off with one of our final destinations when we were back in Nairobi – The Giraffe centre and Manor. Another place you should check out as you couldn’t get much closer to giraffes if you tried, lots of hand-feeding and petting with these blue-tongued spotted giants.

Giraffe Close Up by Jack Gunns on 500px.com 

My time in Kenya was jam-packed with some incredible places, people and experiences. It is somewhere that I will for sure have to visit again and could not recommend this trip more to anyone looking for a taste of the wild thrill of safari and cultured beauty of Africa.

Landscape I by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

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Kenya | Travel Talk Pt.1

Kenya | Travel Talk Pt.1

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I love to travel. I’ve thought about how I can incorporate this into my new site and blog – and so ‘travel talk’ was born. I’ll be giving a brief review and sharing my experiences in a series of posts around the places I have explored. And so here is the first of the bunch…Kenya pt.1

When I think of Africa i think wild, untamed, a country rich in culture and The Lion King. Since a very young age it has been somewhere I have always dreamt of seeing myself. When the opportunity came up in 2009 to visit a school and go on safari I couldn’t get on the plane quick enough.

We flew into Nairobi airport full of excitement and anxiousness. This was it, I had finally made it to a country and experience I had dreamt about. The adventure begins.

Fresh from the arrivals lounge we jumped straight into a truck and headed off to The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Now it’s important to note that elephants are number one on my list of animals to see so heading straight to an elephant orphanage was the best possible start to the trip I could have asked for.

One Man & His Elephant by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

The David Sheldrick wildlife trust was an amazing place and the work they do there for young orphaned animals like elephants and rhinos is outstanding. The keepers themselves are assigned an animal to look after on a 1-1 24hr basis. I would definitely recommend popping into this place if you are planning a trip as you can get real close to the elephants and watch them play, feed and even put them to bed; we adopted an elephant named Kibo!

Baby Elelphant by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

Elephants by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

#tb to this little guy 👋 #rhino #travels #africa 🌍

A photo posted by Jack Gunns (@jackgunns) on

We headed straight to our new home for the next few weeks in Malindi – got settled, met the garden monkeys, checked out the pool and went straight to the local beach bar – as you do! The Driftwood was an amazing beach hut bar with incredible ocean views! You can go camel riding (on George) along the beach and book various diving boat trips as well – a must do!

Paradise Cove by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

George

Whilst we were there we took the chance to go to a crocodile farm where you get to get pretty close to all sorts of reptiles and lizards. We watched a feeding frenzy in the crocodile pit and got to hold a massive python! The farm was really well run and was a great experience to hold a baby croc and python.

Feeding Frenzy

What's For Dinner?

Once we had settled into life in Malindi and had our first few encounters with wildlife we ventured to our first big project which was to go see and teach at Marafa school. When we first entered the school we were surrounded by a sea of smiling curious faces that followed us everywhere. Once the initial shock wore off we relaxed into our teaching roles. On a rotation of 25+ children in each group we began a week of lessons. It was a fantastic experience and incredibly rewarding to see the kids listening and interested in what we had brought with us. They especially had fun with my camera – which gave me some great photos!

Creative Culture

#africa #mask #tbt #instadaily #insta #instahub

A photo posted by Jack Gunns (@jackgunns) on

After a week of teaching the school put on a traditional tribal dance for us – I was pulled up to bust a move or two.

#tbt #dance #travels #happy

A photo posted by Jack Gunns (@jackgunns) on

With an incredible first week and introduction to Kenya, we packed up our teaching bags and got ready for the next adventure – safari!

Kenya pt.2 coming soon…

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