Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

On this page we are pleased to offer answers to common questions related to our work. Please select the heading relevant to your query, or scroll down the page to find answers to all questions.











Where is the DSWT located?

The DSWT is located in the country of Kenya. The elephant Nursery is located in Nairobi National Park. Our 3 reintegration units are located in the Greater Tsavo Conservation Area at Voi, Ithumba and Umani Springs in the Kibwezi Forest.

Can I visit the DSWT facilities and how much does it cost?

Yes, we are open to the public for one hour every day, excluding 25th December, from 11am to Noon. During this time the orphans arrive for their midday mud bath and feeding.  Entrance to the orphanage for the visiting hour requires minimum contribution of $7 US dollars / 500 Kenya shillings per person (aged 4 and above). Payment must be in cash and we cannot accept credit cards or M-Pesa transfers. We also have a gift shop on site and the opportunity to foster orphans during your visit.

Can I visit as a foster parent?

As a foster parent you can visit the Nursery at the usual public visiting hour between 11am - 12noon (entrance fee applies) and by appointment at 5:00pm when they return to the stockades for the night.  This evening visit is for foster parents only and the date must be booked in advance of your intended visit by contacting the DSWT directly at .

How do I book a stay in one of the DSWT’s Eco-Lodges?

DSWT promotes responsible and sustainable tourism and offers an exclusive opportunity to stay at one of three camps; Ithumba Camp and Ithumba Hill Camp in Tsavo East National Park and Umani Springs in the Kibwezi Forest.  Funds generated from these properties go directly towards the management and conservation of these areas. Booking for all three properties is through the DSWT.  To check availability and rates, please contact



Can I volunteer for DSWT in Kenya?

Unfortunately, the DSWT cannot offer any volunteer opportunities because caring for orphaned elephants is a long-term commitment. Our primary concern is for the orphans and their overall wellbeing. Since the elephants have already endured the trauma of losing their families when becoming orphaned, we try to avoid any further emotional upset which could be caused by the loss of a keeper or care-giver, with whom the elephants form extremely strong bonds. In caring for the orphans as a temporary family until they are ready to return to the wild, our keepers therefore commit to remain with them for up to 10 years to ensure continuity of care and prevent any psychological disturbance.

Being a Kenyan charity, based in a country where there are high levels of unemployment, we are proud to give local Kenyans the opportunity to play a part in the hand-raising of orphans, which not only provides them with a source in income but, importantly, also helps create an affinity with the species, allowing our keepers to then share this conservation message with their families and communities.

Can I volunteer for U.S. Friends of the DSWT?

U.S. Friends of the DSWT recruits volunteers to help in a variety of areas such as fundraising and outreach events, or administrative support at various times during the year.  If you would like to be added to our growing list of volunteers, please email us at  and we will provide you with an application.

Can I volunteer for the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in the UK?

The UK based David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust welcomes volunteers to assist the charity in a variety of areas such as fundraising and outreach events, or administrative support at various times during the year.  If you would like to be added to our growing list of volunteers, please email us at

What is the best way to stay informed and updated on DSWT news and happenings?

To keep abreast with the comings and goings of the orphan elephants and rhinos, we would encourage you to become a foster parent, whereby you will receive a monthly update on the Orphans’ Project, along with occasional emails related to new rescues and key events, such as an ex-orphan giving birth to a wild born calf! Visit our fostering page to find out more.

Additionally, with so much activity occurring on a daily basis, we encourage our supporters to follow us on our social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These sites have up-to-date information including the latest news on our current orphans, successes within our Anti-Poaching Teams, and recent reports from the field by our Mobile Vet Teams and Aerial Surveillance Units. We also include our current events and DSWT gatherings, as well as featured ways to support the cause. Follow us today -   Facebook   |   Twitter   |   Instagram   |   YouTube



Can I organize a fundraiser?

Yes! DSWT relies on the generosity and commitment of its supporters.  Fundraising is a great way to take your support of the DSWT’s conservation work to the next level.  Fundraising can be as easy as creating an online fundraising or sponsorship page to planning an event.  Get in touch and we will send you our fundraising kit to help get you started.  All 3rd party fundraising events are subject to an application and review process.  

US supporters please email inquiry to

UK supporters please email inquiry to

I’d like to sell items and donate a percentage of the profits to you.  Is this possible?

We are most appreciative of the varied offers of support through corporate partnerships and third-party fundraising ventures.  In an effort to protect and accurately represent both parties, all corporate and cause related marketing partnerships are subject to an application and review process.

If you are in the USA, please email your proposed partnership and support ideas to

For the rest of the world, please email your proposed partnership and support ideas to 



How can I make a donation?

The easiest way to donate is via the website and you can make a secure online donation on the ‘How to Donate’ page or elect to foster one of the Orphans and be a part of their future through the ‘Fostering Programme’.

If you live in the USA, only donations made via the specific USA donation page, through the U.S. Friends, are tax deductible as allowed by law.  If you live in the UK, donations via the specific UK donation page will be in £GBP and, if you are a UK taxpayer, these donations would be eligible for Gift Aid.

If you would prefer not to donate online and you live in the UK or U.S., you will find email and telephone contact information for the U.S. Friends and UK charity on the donation pages.  For people living in Asia, Australasia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, please visit the ‘Other donation page’ for guidance on alternative ways to make a donation.   

Are my donations tax deductible?

Donations made through the fostering program and on the main donation page of the DSWT website are processed through the DSWT entities in UK and Kenya. You would need to contact the tax authority in your own country to ascertain tax deduction eligibility. For US Contributors, donations made directly to the U.S. Friends of the DSWT do have tax benefits as allowed by law.  Donations to U.S. Friends of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust are accepted on the US Donation page, by phone, or by mail to our office in Laguna Hills, CA.

Donations made by UK taxpayers are eligible for Gift Aid, which the charity can reclaim on your donation where an appropriate Gift Aid Declaration has been completed.  Gift Aid allows the charity to reclaim the tax against your donation – for higher rate taxpayers, this should allow for a deduction in your annual tax bill.

Does the DSWT accept or participate in any corporate partnerships or relationships?

Yes, DSWT welcomes like-minded corporate entities to express their interest and ideas in partnering with us to help further our mission. Each of our partnerships are tailored to offer maximum benefit to both the Trust and our partners, so we begin the process by asking interested parties to complete our partnership application. If you are in the USA, please email us at to request our partnership application, for all other countries please email us as

My employer has a Matching Gift Program, can I submit my donation for a consideration?

You will need to review your employer’s Matching Gift guidelines to determine if your employer will match donations to only national or international organisations. As an example, donations made to the U.S. Friends of the David Sheldrick Trust by a US employee may qualify under your employer’s guidelines, whereas a contribution made directly to the DSWT may not.   

I’ve forgotten and/or am unable to retrieve my PayPal password to make and/or renew a donation.

We do not have access to or retain your PayPal information.  You will need to contact PayPal directly or you can simply choose to donate using your credit/debit card, which is an option on the PayPal payment page.

I’d like to mail items to Kenya.  How can I do this?

We do not recommend mailing items directly to Kenya as there have been numerous incidents of items going missing on route.  If you wish to mail an item to Kenya, please first contact the Kenya office to advise them of what you are intending to send and they will suggest how best to proceed

I’d like to make a donation in £Sterling, but the only option available is US$.  How do I proceed?

You can donate in £GBP using the UK donation page on the website.  Please also be aware that when entering a UK address when completing the fostering donation forms and online donation forms, the US dollar amount you have entered will automatically be converted into £GBP before your donation is completed.  This ensures you know the exact £GBP amount of your fostering/donation being you make it.

Can I make blankets and send them to the orphanage?

The thought is very much appreciated, however we would ask people to please not send blankets to our UK or US offices. It is too costly and logically cumbersome for us to get these blankets to the project in Kenya and as such, this kind gesture risks unnecessary expenses for the charity. We suggest considering making a donation towards a blanket though our Give a Gift Program – this funds the purchase of specially constructed and specifically made blankets from local suppliers to meet the needs of the orphans and serve to provide warmth, comfort and protection in Kenya’s climate.



We are deeply grateful to you for considering a gift to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in your Will, which will enable us to continue the work you have supported during your lifetime.

For legacies left to the DSWT, the actual wording of your gift is dependent on the type of gift you wish to include i.e. a set amount of money (pecuniary) or a gift which is a percentage of your estate (residual), the amount and legality. For this reason we always encourage you to seek advice from your solicitor/legal counsel when writing your Will. For any questions about leaving a legacy to the DSWT, please contact

For US Citizens, certain tax advantages may exist to reference the US 501(c)(3), US Friends of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in your estate documentation. However, it is always best to consult with your advisor.  For legacies left to U.S. Friends of the DSWT, we suggest the following language.

“I hereby give, devise and bequeath, to the United States Friends of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Taxpayer Identification number 30-0224549, the sum of $________, (or % of ______), so long as, on the date of this bequest, such organization has as its principal purpose the provision of financial and technical support to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt public charity for federal income tax purposes.”


DONATING – specific to US donors

Who are the U.S. Friends of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (USF)?

The mission of the USF is a commitment to support the DSWT through financial support, educational outreach and public awareness initiatives that promote wildlife conservation in Kenya.  USF is a Section 501(c)(3) public charity whose charitable purpose includes directly supporting programs and initiatives of the DSWT.  Contributions made to the USF are tax-deductible as provided by law and are managed by its Board of Directors and disbursed at the Board’s discretion to further the USF’s charitable purpose. 

What is USF’s Federal Tax ID?


Will I be sent a tax receipt/letter for my donation?

If you are a U.S. resident and made a donation to the U.S. Friends of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, you will automatically be sent a donation acknowledgement either through email or by letter mail.  USF does not keep records of donations made directly to the DSWT in Kenya.  

What percentage of my donation goes directly towards the DSWT’s program?

Based on our most recent audit, The USF contributes 94% of funds received to DSWT for their conservation programs, with 6% being used for administrative and fundraising costs to support the US donor community. 


DONATING – specific to UK donors

Who is the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (UK)

The DSWT is a registered charity in England and Wales, which exists to protect and conserve wildlife and habitats in Kenya and to support communities living alongside wildlife.  The charity was founded in 2004 and both directly funds projects on the ground in Kenya and provides grants to the DSWT in Kenya in furtherance of their charitable objectives.  Contributions made to the UK charity are Gift Aidable, where a donor is a UK taxpayer, paying income tax equal to or greater than the value of their donation. 

What is the charity number?


I live in the UK and would like my fostering donation to be eligible for gift aid, can I foster through the UK?

Fosterings completed via our online foster program are eligible for Gift Aid by UK taxpayers, so long as you have completed an appropriate Gift Aid Declaration form.  Simply drop as an email with your Gift Aid Declaration and we will do the rest

What percentage of my donation goes directly to conservation projects?

Based on our most recent audit, the DSWT (UK) directs 90% of funds to conservation projects, with 10% being used for administrative, governance and international fundraising costs. 



How can I foster an orphan elephant or rhino?

You can foster an elephant for a minimum annual donation of US$50 (GBP£35).  You can foster through the website.

If you are a UK supporter and would like the opportunity to setup a monthly/quarterly or yearly recurring donation to foster an orphan, which is undertaken by Direct Debit, please contact

Choosing an orphan to foster

When choosing an orphan to foster please be sure you are aware of their stage of development and at what Unit they are presently based. For example, Nursery Orphans, Older Adolescent Orphans at Ithumba, or Fully Independent Orphans.

How many years can I foster an orphan?

When setting up a fostering you can choose to foster for a minimum of 1 year, up to a maximum of 10 years.  Please be aware that you will be charged the full amount of your fostering when you set this up, so if you choose to foster for 10 years at the minimum US$50 (GBP£35) per year, your initial donation would be US$500 (GBP£350).

When your fostering approaches its anniversary, you will receive an email from the DSWT inviting you to renew your fostering for another year, so that you may continue to support and follow your orphan’s progress.

What is included in my fostering?

To lessen administrative costs, the Fostering Program is digital and requires an email address.  Via email, your fostering includes:  a certificate with your orphan’s photo & story, collectable digital watercolor by Angela Sheldrick and monthly updates about your orphan and happenings at the DSWT.

Can I foster as a gift?

When selecting to foster online, you have the option to select your fostering as a gift and include a personal message to the gift recipient.  The Fostering packet will be sent directly to the recipient’s email along with your gift message.      

Can I name an orphan?

The DSWT names the orphaned elephants in a way that can identify them with their origin. The orphans come from all corners of Kenya and from many different elephant populations, so they are given place or ethnic tribal names associated with the regions or in some cases a name pertinent to their rescue. As such, we are unable to offer a naming opportunity as we feel it is important to carry the animal’s heritage with them as they transition into a new life.

Does each orphan have more than one foster parent?

Yes.  Raising an infant elephant is an expensive and long-term commitment, especially during the first four milk dependent years.  The commitment takes a team of trained care-givers who provide specialist care for the elephant until such time as it is ready to resume life in the wild.  The fostering funds go to all the elephants, as some orphans attract more foster parents than others.  Presently there are more than 70 milk and Keeper dependent orphans being cared for between the DSWT’s four units.

I am fostering an orphan but not receiving my fostering emails.

First, please check your spam or junk email folders to see if the email was blocked or received there.  Emails for the foster program are sent from the address  If you find emails in your junk mail folder, please add this email address to your safe list of contacts to ensure future emails arrive directly to your inbox.  If you’ve not received a fostering email, then please send an inquiry to       

I’d like to change my contact email or mailing address.  How can I do that?

If you live in the US, please send change requests to

If you live in the UK, please send change requests to

For all other countries, please send change requests to

How is my fostering donation used to support the Orphans’ Project?

Each orphan requires round-the-clock specialist care, proper nutrition, veterinary care & treatment, medications, and a well-constructed and maintained stockade for housing for up to 10 years.  Fostering donations are used to support direct costs associated with the Orphans’ Program such as: rescue transport, milk and supplementary foods, costs to upgrade and maintain the stockades/stables & fencing, vehicle maintenance, and Keeper salaries and quarters.  

Is it safe to release the orphans back in to the wild?

The aim of our Orphans’ Project is to rear the orphaned elephants in such a way that they can eventually return to a wild life and integrate with other wild elephants. The reintegration process is one that can take up to ten years and varies for each individual, depending on what age it was when it was orphaned and how well it can recall its elephant family. The orphans remain in our care as long as is necessary, until each orphan makes the decision to leave the Reintegration Centre and live independently of their human family.

Ultimately, elephants need space, and the Tsavo Conservation Area with over 64,000 square kilometres can provide the space an elephant needs for a quality life. Of course, having already invested so much into their care and wellbeing throughout the reintegration process, and with our goal to see them enjoying life in the wild, keeping the ex-orphans safe remains very much a priority. For that reason, the DSWT operates nine Anti-Poaching Units working in conjunction with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), of which eight are based within the Tsavo Conservation Area, as well as four DSWT/KWS Mobile Veterinary Units. Together with our Aerial Surveillance Unit, consisting of two Supercubs, a Topcub, a Cessna 185 and a Hughes 500 helicopter, all of which cover thousands of kilometres on patrol every month.  Our ground and air teams are working around the clock to keep the ex-orphans, wild elephants and other wildlife safe.

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