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.
Northern Area Tsavo East National Park
The Northern Area of Tsavo East National Park encompasses 3,000 square miles of pristine wilderness North of the Galana River and the Yatta Plateau which runs the length of Tsavo East and ends beyond the Park boundary at the Lali Hills.
It is an inhospitable and very wild country, hot and arid, devoid of surface water during Tsavo’s long hot dry seasons but for the Tiva watercourse some 25 miles from its Northern boundary. The Tiva is a seasonal river only. For most of the year it is a dry riverbed with a few stagnant pools of extremely saline water. However, during the rainy seasons, of which there should normally be two per year, (November/December and April/May), the Tiva floods and often becomes impassable, swelled by run-off from the catchment area further upstream.
The Northern Area was once extremely rich in wildlife, harbouring a sizeable population of Black Rhino, thousands of Elephants, including enormous Tuskers, and a wide variety of browsers. Dominated by Commiphora scrub woodland, the habitat has long favoured the browsing species, although grazing species are also represented in low numbers. The elephants habitually tunneled into the dry Tiva sands to expose sub-surface water on which all wildlife depended, and it was not unusual to be able to see some 300 elephants congregated in the riverbed along with rhinos and buffaloes at the same time awaiting their turn to drink from the holes dug by the elephants. However, following three decades of rampant elephant poaching following the death of David Sheldrick in l977, the surviving elephants abandoned the Northern Area entirely, and the rhinos were totally eliminated. Bushmeat poaching since has radically reduced all other species, which today are represented only in very marginal numbers.
Because of the nature of the terrain, and particularly because of its remoteness and aridity, the Northern Area of Tsavo East has always been closed to the general public and available only to a discerning clientele escorted by competent Safari Guides.
Since the establishment of the Trust’s Northern Orphaned Elephant Rehabilitation Centre at Ithumba, the wild elephant herds are now beginning to return en masse, wild elephant bull “scouts” having visited the orphaned elephants in their Night Stockades for close on 3 years before they again began to show themselves during the hours of daylight. Now the cow herds are beginning to return. Given adequate protection, and attention, the Northern Area could again become the jewel in the Crown of Tsavo East, as it was in the beginning.