NAIROBI, Kenya (ABC 4 Utah) - Africa was a lot of work for World of Difference team members, but they also had a lot of fun. One of the highlights in the “fun” category was a trip to an orphanage for elephants.
There they saw Mashariki, a 15 month old elephant. Her parents apparently killed by poachers, Mashariki would have died in the wild. Rescuers found her weak and near collapse and brought her to a unique orphanage run by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
Nursing Mashariki back from the brink was no easy task. Keepers explained that elephants are completely dependent on their mothers for the first three years of life. So keepers became surrogate parents. They even bottle fed the elephant with a formula that took years to develop.
The World of Difference team members are thrilled that Mashariki walks right up to them at the rope. Other elephants also approach and allow the visitors to touch them. It gives them a whole new perspective on an animal most have only seen at a distance in a zoo.
The group from Utah was so impressed by what they saw that they pooled their cash and adopted one of the elephants. They now get regular email updates on their elephant’s progress.
To date, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has raised 150-elephants and successfully reintegrated them into herds in the wild. Click here for more information on the trust.