Tag Archives: david sheldrick wildlife trust

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


Baby Elephant Brought Back To Life

Baby Elephant Brought Back To Life

When it comes to performing miracles, in the world of saving elephants, there is nobody better than the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. This is a charity I will support as long as I can because I know the work they do is amazing and it’s stories like this one that really demonstrate their commitment.

This story begins with a baby elephant on the brink of death after surviving on its own for far too long. Lucky for this little one a film crew in the area was keeping an eye on it and they knew something needed to be done. It became urgent when they watched the elephant curl up under a tree – likely ready to give up – so with the DSWT team called a rescue was coordinated.

Check out the video of this rescue and if you’re like me you will be so thankful that there are people who chose this as their job, their mission in life. (The picture above was provided to me a few years back by the woman in the photo. She also dedicated her talents to support this worthwhile charity)


Wounded Elephant Crushes Trophy Hunter – Karma?

Wounded Elephant Crushes Trophy Hunter – Karma?

A friend of mine told me about the story of a trophy hunter by the name of Thuenis Botha. She had seen pictures of him and his various trophy kills on Facebook but the story she wanted to share with me was about him being crushed by an elephant. It was hard for either of us to have any sympathy for him and in fact we both felt his death was just karma.

Story: Wounded Elephant Crushes and Kills Trophy Hunter

I sponsor elephants in Kenya through The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust so you can’t expect me to care for someone who knowingly goes out to harm them. For the life of me I will never understand the mindset of someone who kills a living being for sport.

The only thing I can figure is that this type of human being is at the lower end of the intelligence spectrum meaning that things boil down to a simplistic understanding of their world. They have little regard for the impact they are having on species and the environment. I also believe this type of person is obsessed with self, lacks compassion for other beings and only feels powerful when he/she can kill a defenseless animal. It is a sport based on status, a pissing contest of sorts that allows for bragging rights at the end. Useless, absolutely useless.

Make no mistake this is big business and, as we have seen in the past, extinction of animals is entirely possible when things are left to greedy hunters and corrupt governments. Hiding behind words like conservation and land management people like Mr. Botha see money through the barrel of their gun.

My mind returns to this elephant that likely saved her herd from further threat. She died in a way that if we were talking about a human being we would have called her brave. Just like a human her instinct was to protect her family and like humans her family will grieve the loss. And that’s another thing…

I find it puzzling that we like to think of ourselves as so superior and believe we are the only species that has the capacity to evolve – to become sentient beings. If we were capable of going from blobs of cells, to walking upright, establishing communication, creating family units and so on, why do we assume other species are not evolving too?

By studying other species in the wild, like primates, elephants and cetaceans, we have learned more about their evolution, intelligence, feelings and the many traits we share. One common thing in all of us is the need to protect those we care about.

Yes, I feel absolutely a sense of calm when I say Mr. Botha’s death was a good one. I don’t see his career as a big game hunter as something that should be aspired to or protected.

The grief I feel is for the elephant family that will never forget one of their own.

It is time to end trophy hunting and call it like it is— a cowardly, barbaric act in the name of sport.


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

Fundraiser for David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust


June 27, 2009 is a big day for the US Friends of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and they are inviting you!

A fundraising party is being held in Seattle, Washington to, as the save the date card says, “celebrate elephants and their contribution to our world.”

A formal invitation will be following but for all those that may want to be part of this celebration and contribute to such a wonderful organization please contact:

Wendie Wendt – Vice President and Fundraiser

Email: wendiewendt@sheldrickwildlifetrust.org


The Spirit of Giving

As some of you may know I like to volunteer my time and give to various charities. Since I was first out on my own, earning my own dollars, I have done both of these things. I believe in the power of volunteerism to enhance the skills of an individual, develop a connection to others and to build a better community. I have met incredible people through volunteering and essentially began my career as a volunteer. I had a wonderful mentor, a woman named “Pat” who gave generously of her time, expertise and wisdom to my development.

I also have supported many different charities over the years, especially those benefiting women, children and our precious animals.

Adoption has become very rewarding for me but not in the way you would think, over two years ago I adopted a baby elephant named “Lempaute”. I had watched 60 Minutes in which they featured an incredible woman whose name is Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick. In Kenya, she and her team head up The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a charity started in memory of her late husband David Sheldrick MBE. I have loved the opportunity to participate in the saving and care of these magnificent animals and greatly appreciate the people who work tirelessly along side them. I really look forward to the pictures and updates I receive. www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org

The SPCA has received in the past, my time for dog walking which subsequently precipitated me becoming a dog parent for 15 years. The society has also received multiple financial and food donations over the years. It is a job I could never do, as I know my emotions would get in the way, but giving helps.

Supporting women’s organizations is important to me too. Giving to the programs and shelters for abused women, preparing gifts for women in need, providing career coaching services, investing in the Girls Growth Fund and much more. I am always looking for more charities related to women, children and animals to focus my attention on, for information as well as to help.

Worldwide there are programs that need our time, energy and money and I believe it is in service to others that we gain the most. I encourage all women out there to see if in 2009 they can spare a dime or the time for one charity.

Maybe consider a career in the not for profit sector, there are plenty of organizations out there that may need your expertise. A good website in Canada for charities and employment is www.charityvillage.com. Become informed if nothing else, because when you are informed it allows you to pass on a message to others who may be in a better position to help.

Women who have influenced us through their service, started only with a thought to do something about an issue that was important to them. What grew from that affected their immediate family, then affected their community and with great vision went on to affect our world. Whatever you decide as your contribution it will be appreciated, great or small.

Future posts will help us all to become better informed of worldwide issues, feature women of influence and hopefully spark your interest in the spirit of giving.

Essential SSL