‘In whose memory the Trust was formed’
1948 saw the beginning of David Sheldrick’s renowned career within the Royal National Parks of Kenya, where he worked unwaveringly for over two decades transforming Tsavo’s Eastern Sector, a previously unchartered and inhospitable land, into Kenya’s largest and most famous National Park. David Sheldrick stands out, even today, as one of Africa’s most famous and proficient Pioneer National Park Wardens of all time.
David Sheldrick held his post as Warden of Tsavo East until he was transferred to head the Planning Unit for all of Kenya's Wildlife Areas based in Nairobi at the end of 1976. Sadly David died 6 months later, but the legacy he left in Tsavo endures.
In his hand-over notes, written before leaving Tsavo, David Sheldrick had this to say about the then Orphans’ Project, which was already growing into the much respected program that it is today.
"Tsavo East has become internationally famous for its wildlife rehabilitation programme. Over the years many elephant, rhino, buffalo, lesser kudu, impala, eland, warthog, duiker, dikdik, zebra and other animals have been successfully rehabilitated after having been raised in captivity. Much extremely valuable information has been obtained regarding gestation, estrous cycles, growth rates, food preferences, ailments, social structure and general behaviour of these animals under circumstances that are quite unique. Their relationship with man has also given confidence to the wild animals living near the Headquarters, thus providing further opportunities for observation, and given untold pleasure to hundreds of visitors. It is important that the present relationship between man, hand-reared and wild animals should not be disrupted, for it has taken many years to achieve these results and a situation is developing whereby further information, unobtainable elsewhere and of the greatest importance is possible. The female elephant "Eleanor" is now 18 years old, and therefore reached an age when she is ready to breed. As she regularly mixes with the wild elephant, it is anticipated that she will be covered very shortly, probably during the coming rains. The birth of an African Elephant under the conditions that currently exist in Tsavo East would be sensational to say the least, but what is more important, it would present an opportunity to obtain very valuable data; the composition of elephant's milk during the different stages of lactation, growth rates, weight increase, tooth eruption…."
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust P.O. Box 15555 Nairobi Kenya
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