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In Memory of Dame Daphne Sheldrick

In Memory of Dame Daphne Sheldrick

A I write this I’m fighting back tears. Today, I learned that a woman I greatly admire has passed away – her name was Dame Daphne Sheldrick. She was the founder of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust which has been rescuing and protecting wild Elephants and Rhinos since 1977. Her passion for wildlife conservation was nurtured alongside her husband David Sheldrick and after his death she remained committed to supporting wildlife in Kenya.

I wish I could find the perfect words to honor this woman but I’m afraid that will not be the case. I can’t capture the feelings fast enough in order to eloquently speak about her impact on my life.

My awareness about the plight of elephants came through an interview she did many years ago. After I finished watching her speak I was moved to find out more about DSWT and from that introduction I became committed to its success. Since that time I have continuously supported the charity and proudly sponsor two elephants.

A point of fact: When Dame Daphne Sheldrick began rescuing orphaned baby elephants it was difficult to keep them alive without their mother’s milk and loving guidance. It is through pure dedication that Dame Daphne Sheldrick managed to develop the right formula in which to feed baby elephants and developed a program in which a person would be assigned to each orphan. With this type of personal care and companionship these elephants thrived. Within Tsavo East National Park, and beyond, there are generations of healthy adult elephants who live because DSWT cared.

Now the tears stream down my face….

Dame Daphne Sheldrick had gentle hands caring for elephants and rhinos but a determined voice as their advocate. She knew that a world without these majestic, incredibly intelligent souls would not be right. She brushed up against their bodies and listened to the beating of their hearts. She looked into the eyes of an orphan and knew she couldn’t take away their tragic memories of loss but could lessen their grief with an introduction to a new family. Dame Sheldrick and her team knew all souls would not be saved but accepted this as their reality. She was incredibly brave to fight this battle and her final battle with breast cancer.

In 2009, one of my earliest blog posts was a two-part interview with Wendi Wendt – who’s picture you see on this post with a baby elephant – she was the Vice President of The US Friends of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. I was thrilled to speak with her. Wendi and I spoke about our first encounters with this project at more length than what’s written in my blog. I know I share with many people today a tremendous amount of sadness and a renewed sense of purpose to keep Dame Sheldrick’s vision alive. Please feel free to read US Friends of the David Seldrick Wildlife Trust Interview Part 1 and Interview Part 2.

I offer my condolences to her family, friends and dedicated colleagues.

Please help support their cause – For the Love of a Baby Elephant or Rhino. Donate


The Elephant Who Found a Mom

My Wild Affair: The Elephant Who Found a Mom is airing on PBS tonight and I’m looking forward to the beginning of a series that tells the stories of the bonds between humans and animals.This particular show features Dame Daphne Sheldrick whom I am familiar with as I donate to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

I believe shows such as these serve as a reminder that we are interdependent on each other and also that what we think we know about animals is not all there is to know. Wildlife has the capacity to surprise us but even more so when the relationships developed between species defies logic and appears connected through the heart.

Compassion granted to all living things.

(Support public television – in my area that is KCTS 9)


Do you go to the circus?

A video has surfaced, making its way like wild fire through the news and blog world.  Ringling Brothers Circus is again in the spotlight and not in a good way. The video shows mainly the elephants being abused, but also has brief shot of tigers too.

PETA had an employee undercover and he or she managed to capture the hooking, whipping, and multiple beatings of the elephants. These images were taken this year. No matter how you feel about PETA or animal rights activists this should not dissuade you from viewing this pre-show abuse. Facts are facts and it makes no difference to me what group or whom captured these images, it is clear these poor animals are in distress. It is disturbing to watch as they repeatedly hit the animals and clearly the elephants appear beaten into submission and for one maybe insanity.

If you are one of many people who have taken your children to the circus maybe you might think differently. If you are a business offering tickets to this event, it is time you find something else to offer your VIP’s. No matter how you cut it, this is abuse! Even the language the trainer is using, shows how little regard they hold for these beautiful animals. Yet, many families line up to take in the shows, mistaking the animals performance as fun for all.

It appears the animals are not having fun at all and nor should they. The circus is no place for these creatures and shame on anyone who still goes to the circus!

Ringling Bros Elephant Abuse

Additional note: Read what Dame Daphne Sheldrick had to say about the circus and its return to the United Kingdom.

Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

US Friends of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

As some of you know from a previous post I am a supporter of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya.

So, it is by no accident that I chose to feature a woman who I felt was important for you to know. Wendie Wendt is based in the United States and works tirelessly to assist the Trust through fundraising. She volunteers, along with a group of other dedicated people, to support the Trust and it’s effort to help elephants.

Dame Daphne Sheldrick, whom you will also learn about in the interview is inspirational. She has been featured on 60 Minutes twice and I understand a third show may be in the future. We will have to see, but until then take some time to get to know this worthwhile organization.

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