I Adopted an Elephant and You Can Too!

Yes, you read that correctly, I did adopt an elephant! But it might not be exactly what you are thinking. No, I do not have an elephant in my backyard or in a barn somewhere or my dorm room. My elephant lives in Kenya and her name is Malkia (pictured below). 

Photo credit: Outside GO

When I graduated from high school, my sister gave me a gift card that I could use towards fostering an elephant or a rhino from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT). The DSWT is committed to protecting elephants and rhinos from poaching and other factors that could lead to extinction like deforestation and drought. When an elephant or rhino is orphaned, the DSWT will rescue the animal and bring them back to the Nursery where they can receive food, water, and any other care that they might need. While the DSWT will give them all the care they need, DSWT’s main goal is to reintegrate the orphans back into the wild when the animals are ready. 

Fostering an elephant or a rhino is so amazing because even though the animal might be all the way across the world, you are still very much connected to it. 

First, you get to choose who you want to foster. On the DSWT website, there is a list of elephants that all need fostering. The list features their name, birthday, how they were found, and the reason for being orphaned. 

Photo credit: DSWT

I picked Malkia for two reasons. First, she was found beside her dying mother and I felt so devastated for her that I instantly gravitated towards her. Second, her name. Malkia means queen in Swahili. I had to foster Malkia because I know that you do not just receive that name by accident, she had to be one fierce elephant.

You can watch Malkia’s rescue here

Besides feeling immensely happy about having a new elephant in your family, you also get to enjoy other benefits! After you pick your elephant, you will receive an interactive map explaining where your elephant was found and a description of the animals/habitat in that area. You will also receive monthly summaries of the events that took place at the DSWT including photos and detailed diary entries that will keep you up to date on your elephant. AND you will get monthly watercolor paintings by Angela Sheldrick like the one below. 

Photo credit: DSWT 

I love when I get that email and I can learn more about Malkia. Remember when I said that Malkia had to be one fierce elephant? Well, I was right. Turns out she is a very determined and mischievous girl who is always very excited (and loud) during feeding time. 

On December 4th, she and two other elephants made a big step in their journey of reintegration. They moved from the Nursery to Ithumba, a place for the older orphaned elephants to live. Although the elephants still rely on the Keepers and their milk bottles, this move is an important step before Malkia can lead a fully independent life in Kenya.  

You can watch Malkia’s move here

I am extremely grateful to have played a part, even if only a minor one, in helping Malkia get the life she deserves. Many of the orphans are orphans because of humans, due to poaching, deforestation, and overpopulation. I am happy that I get to give back and be a human that helps instead of harms. 

Photo credit: DWST

Please consider donating to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, they (and the animals) need all the help they can get. You can donate online or become a foster parent like me!


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