| Florentine Maats

Elephant, giraffe or rhino might be too big to wrap this Christmas?

The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT), the world’s leading elephant orphanage, is offering an out-of-the ordinary Christmas Gift for children and nature lovers, giving a unique insight into the lives of orphaned elephants, rhinos or giraffes in their care and even the chance to meet them.

For a suggested donation of $50 or more a year, gift givers can gift an adoption of an orphaned animal in the care of the SWT, each with their own birthday, rescue date and unique story. The perfect gift for children or animal lovers, gift recipients will receive monthly emails on the progress of their orphan as they journey back to a life in the wild as well as exclusive access to diaries written by their Keepers and new photos.

“From learning about the friendships their orphan has formed with other animals and reading about the daily antics of the elephants, adopting is a magical gift that can support an orphan’s journey back to the wild and inspire a long lasting interest in nature, something which we must harness in our children. Surely there can’t be a better (or cuter) Christmas present than giving the Gift of Life? ”, says Rob Brandford, Executive Director of the SWT in the UK.

Unlike other adoption programs, the SWT’s is unique. Adopters can follow the progress of an actual animal and receive via email:

  • A digital personalised adoption certificate
  • Monthly email updates on the selected orphan and the Orphans’ Project
  • Access (digital only) to a watercolour by CEO Angela Sheldrick
  • Access to special content, including videos and photos
  • The opportunity to visit the SWT Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi National Park, Kenya during their foster parent visiting session. Currently closed due to Covid-19.

Each gift of fostering can help support an orphan’s journey back to the wild. For instance, each orphaned elephant requires 24 hour care from an experienced elephant carer, regular milk feeds requiring specialist formula milk, as well as blankets to keep warm.

Mukkoka is just one of the orphaned elephants available to adopt, after he was found wondering in Tsavo National Park in September 2018.

“This little calf was wondering alone during one of the hotter times of the year and would likely have become a meal for a predator”, says Rob Branford. “Dehydrated and weak, he was found by our field teams and thanks to our intensive veterinary care, which included an IV drip and specialist formula milk, he is now thriving and his feisty character has made him a real favourite.”

The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust operates a world renowned program of elephant rescue, rehabilitation and reintergration back into the wild, and has worked to protect wildlife in Kenya for over 40 years. Many infant elephants they rescue have been orphaned as a result of ivory poaching, human wildlife conflict and habitat destruction and come into their care in states of emaciation, collapse and require urgent veterinary treatment. Having successfully rescued 262 orphans to date, the SWT has returned 164 back to the wild in a protected area.

To find out more about the Gift Adoption program, visit https://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/adopt

Images courtesy of Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

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