In Nairobi, Kenya, there is a center that hosts the offspring of elephants and rhinos who have been orphaned by poaching.
Global ecological problems require measures which are urgent but which will only bring results in the long term. Until these results materialise, local initiatives are managing to maintain species and ecosystems with direct, one-off measures that allow time for the more important global measures to take effect.
The African elephants are a good example. While fighting for a total ban on the ivory trade, which would bring an end to poaching, while corridors are being created between parks in order to permit the movement of the herds, and while local populations are educated and involved in the care of the pachyderms, an enterprising woman is managing to recover the orphans of poaching.
On the outskirts of Nairobi, in Kenya, the Daphne Sheldrik animal orphanage takes in the little pachyderms that have lost their families.
Elephants have a very complex social life, so the little ones need a great deal of care to replace that given by their mothers. Here, in the orphanage, they receive just that. But the result of this project goes beyond the recovery of these little elephant calves.
In the orphanage, which is open to the public, people can gain some idea of the fascinating life of elephants, discovering their complex social structure and, through this knowledge, understand the senseless brutality of shooting them.
The orphanage also takes in other colossal orphans.
Both species of African rhinoceroses are threatened. Their horns, mistakenly believed to be aphrodisiacs, have made them the prime target of the poachers. As in the case of the elephants, every year this poaching leaves behind orphans. And like them, the little rhinoceroses also receive shelter and care in Daphne’s orphanage.
In this way, the seeds of a new awareness are sown. Each visitor that comes to the orphanage learns to love the orphans of Sheldrik. And elephants and rhinoceroses win friends in their desperate fight for survival; friends on whom their future will depend.