Celebrating New Beginnings: The Joyful Arrival of Wild-Born Babies to Orphans Raised by the DSWT

The success of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s (DSWT) Orphans’ Project reached new heights in October, marked by the heartwarming births of wild-born babies to orphans raised and nurtured by the Trust. The significance of this achievement is a testament to the dedication and success of the Orphans’ Project, where rescued elephants grow into thriving individuals capable of leading wild, natural lives.

In a truly momentous month, three members of the Ex Orphan herd at Ithumba, including the matriarch Yatta and her adopted sisters Sunyei and Nasalot, welcomed healthy calves, bringing the total count of wild-born babies to an impressive 28. This milestone not only showcases the success of the Trust in rescuing and raising orphaned elephants but also highlights the Ex Orphan herds’ natural expansion

Yatta, rescued at just one month old in 1999, returned to her former stockades in October 2017 to share the birth of her second calf, a robust little boy named Yoyo. The evident joy within the herd during this celebration marked a profound moment for the Ex Orphan family and their human caretakers.

A week later, Nasalot, who arrived at the Nairobi Nursery in 2000 as a few months old orphan, celebrated the birth of her first calf, a playful little bull named ‘Nusu.’ Nasalot’s journey from a restless orphan to a first-time mom exemplifies the transformative impact of the Orphans’ Project, as well as the resilience and adaptability of these elephants.

The month of celebration continued with Sunyei, rescued as a tiny infant, giving birth to a healthy girl named Siku. Sunyei’s return to the stockades, with her newborn, showcased the deep trust and bond elephants share with their human caregivers, emphasizing the success of raising orphans to lead natural lives in the wild.

The Ex Orphan herds, including the new additions, are slowly evolving into a composition that mirrors a wild herd, complete with sisters, aunts, teenage calves, and newborns. The collaborative efforts of the Trust, caretakers, and the Ex Orphan herds themselves have played a pivotal role in achieving this harmonious transition.

As the Ex Orphan herds continue to flourish, the success of the Orphans’ Project is evident not only in the number of orphans successfully reintegrated into the wild but also in the growing number of wild-born calves. The interconnectedness of the Trust’s projects, including mobile veterinary units and anti-poaching teams, ensures the safety and security of all wildlife in Tsavo.

The DSWT expresses profound gratitude for the support that allows them to continue their vital work in rescuing, raising, and protecting elephants. The births of Yoyo, Nusu, and Siku stand as a testament to the enduring impact of the Orphans’ Project, offering hope and inspiration for the continued conservation efforts to protect and preserve these magnificent creatures in their natural habitats.

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