First Lady Margaret Kenyatta visited the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT)on the 18th of June 2013 to meet the baby elephants that have been orphaned as a result of the ongoing slaughter of elephants across Kenya, making her the first Kenyan leader to publically take personal interest in the crisis facing Kenya's elephants.
At the current rate of poaching, it is estimated that Kenya's elephants will be gone from the wild within 10 years. She was accompanied by Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, Professor Judi Wakhungu and Dr. Paula Kahumbu, CEO of WildlifeDirect. WildlifeDirect has played a prominent role in raising awareness about the crisis in Kenya and has invited the First Lady to spearhead a national campaign HANDS OFF OUR ELEPHANTS to unite Kenyans of all walks of life and sectors of society to take personal responsibility towards protecting the worlds most fascinating species, Kenya's heritage and the country's economic future.
After feeding several of the hungry babies with bottles of milk, the First Lady heard their personal stories. She expressed great gratitude that the DSWT has invested so much in rescuing the babies and giving them such loving care to ensure that they could be returned to the wild. There are children in Kenya who have never seen a live elephant, and they may never have a chance to see an elephant if this crisis is not halted. We cannot let this happen said the First Lady when thanking Angela Sheldrick and the head Keeper Edwin Lusichi for their dedication and commitment to elephants. Kenya has lost 137 elephants since the start of the year, many more may have been killed and remain undetected. Professor Wakhungu reassured the team that every effort was being made by the Government. My office is in the final stages of creating a new law that will bring the poaching lords to justice, and crush the criminal cartels.
Many people do not believe how serious this crisis is, having the First Lady speaking out about it will ensure that every Kenyan is aware and can support the government in crushing the criminal cartels that threaten our country. We are honoured that the First Lady has chosen to put her name on the HANDS OFF OUR ELEPHANTS campaign, and lead Kenyans in defending our heritage". The HANDS OFF OUR ELEPHANTS national campaign will be officially launched in July.
After interacting with the baby elephants for an hour, the First Lady chose to adopt one of them Tundani, a calf, who was estimated to be under a year old, that was found alone along the Tiva river in the Tsavo East National Park. There were no other elephants in the area suggesting that Tundani lost his mother and family as a result of poaching. Over 55 elephants have been poached in the Tsavo ecosystem since January 2013. On adopting Tundani the First Lady was handed a certificate and will receive monthly updates on her elephant and permission to visit him as often as she wants.