The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Fostering Map click
Click on a pin to learn more about the place a particular orphan was
found and the plight of elephants in that area.
Dika Plains - Tsavo East National Park
The Tsavo National Park area, encompassing an area of 8,000 square miles (the size of Michigan State or the country Wales) is the main stronghold for Kenya's elephant population which in Tsavo now numbers over 11,000 - the largest single population left in the entire country. Although wild animals are distributed throughout other parts of the country, the Tsavo National Parks are the only large area where they are accorded protection and with its varied topography and differing habitats; it harbours a greater biodiversity of wildlife than any other Park in the world, since it is here that the Northern and Southern races of fauna just happen to occur. David Sheldrick was the founder warden of Tsavo East National Park in the early 1950s.
The Park is divided into east and west sections by the Nairobi - Mombasa highway and the railway line which serves the same two destinations, the latter famously built in 1898 and renowned by the notorious ‘man-eaters of Tsavo’ lions who attacked and killed over 135 Indian workers. Named after the Tsavo River, which flows west to east through the national park, the Park borders the Chyulu Hills National Park, and the Mkomazi Game Reserve in Tanzania. It was our very own David Sheldrick who formed Tsavo East National Park, mapping it out on foot, and who was the first warden. The Park can be accessed by three main gates, from Voi through the Manyani gate, from Mombasa through the Bachuma gate or from Malindi through the Sala gate. Inside the park the Athi and Tsavo rivers converge to form the Galana River. Most of the park consists of semi-arid grasslands and savanna. It is considered one of the world's biodiversity strongholds, and its popularity is mostly due to the vast amounts of diverse wildlife that can be seen, including the famous 'big five' consisting of Masai lion, black rhino, cape buffalo, elephant and leopard. The park is also home to a great variety of bird life such as the black kite, crowned crane, lovebird and the sacred ibis. The slightly larger Tsavo East is generally flat, with dry plains across which the Galana River flows as well as other features including the Yatta Plateau and Lugard Falls.
Running alongside the highway and passing through Rukinga Ranch is the Mombasa pipeline, whose source is 60 miles away at Mzima Springs in Tsavo West National Park. This pipeline was constructed during the Colonial era in the early 1950s, the contract given to a French firm assisted by Italian engineers. Crystal clear water is taken from beneath the lava to serve the city of Mombasa and its environs, but today fifty years later, many parts of the pipeline have fallen into disrepair, leaking in many places along its length. All too often young baby elephants are falling into the deep leaking manholes on this decaying pipeline, as the sides are made steeper during the dry season when larger elephants repeatedly use the same water source, creating deep sides that tiny calves cannot climb out of.