Frequently Asked Questions
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.
Thank you for your interest in joining our Nairobi Nursery’s public visiting hour. This is a special, time-honoured tradition in which we invite the public to learn more about our conservation work and meet the orphans in our care. We would be delighted to facilitate your visit.
The Nairobi Nursery holds a public visiting hour every day from 11am to 12 noon, excluding the 25th December. Advance booking is required through our Nairobi office. Entry protocols have changed, so we encourage guests to visit our dedicated Nairobi Nursery Visiting page to review the details in full. Here, you will find a comprehensive overview of:
Of course, we are delighted to welcome foster parents, along with all supporters, to our Nairobi Nursery. We are open for one-hour daily, from 11am – 12 noon, and attendance is strictly by advanced booking only. You can find more details on visiting in the Q&A immediately above and on our dedicated Nairobi Nursery visiting page.
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is located in Kenya, East Africa. The Trust's main base, being the location of our elephant orphanage, often referred to as the Nairobi Nursery, is in Nairobi National Park (KWS Central Workshop Gate, also known as the Magadi Gate, on Magadi Road). Our three Reintegration Units are located in the Greater Tsavo Conservation Area: Voi and Ithumba are in Tsavo East National Park and Umani Springs is in the Kibwezi Forest.
Ithumba, Voi, and Umani Springs Reintegration Units: Guests staying at SWT Eco Lodges have access to visit the orphaned elephants at the corresponding Reintegration Unit located nearby. Umani and Ithumba Lodges are both a 10-minute drive to their respective Reintegration Units; Galdessa is a scenic one-hour game drive to Voi. There are specific visiting slots at each Reintegration Unit; guests may only visit the orphans during these times. To learn more about staying at our Eco Lodges and what the orphan experience entails, please visit our Eco Lodges website.
Kaluku Neonate Nursery: Our Kaluku Neonate Nursery is where our most vulnerable orphans are raised. It is located at the heart of our Tsavo Field Headquarters and not open to public visitations.
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust does not take on volunteers for a number of reasons. Firstly, caring for the orphans is a long term commitment and the keepers care for them as a temporary family and are with them for up to 10 years. Enabling local Kenyans the opportunity to play a part in the hand-raising of orphans helps create an affinity with the species and our keepers then share this conservation message with their families and communities, further spreading this essential conservation message.
Furthermore, paid or voluntary work in Kenya by foreigners requires a Work Permit, whilst walking in the bush brings with it an element of danger and, understandably, the government does not allow a foreigner to be exposed to this without armed escort.
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust USA 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 contact our US Office using the contact form at the bottom of this webpage.
The UK based 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 contact our UK Office using the contact form at the bottom of this page.
Our adoption program is entirely digital. Adopters will receive:
An adoption will commence on the chosen start date. Gift recipients will be notified of their gift via email on the date chosen by the gift giver.
Gift recipients will be notified about their gift adoption via email on the adoption start date chosen by the gift giver. If you have given an adoption as a gift, you can check the start date by accessing the Adoptions section in your SWT account. If you would like to present your gift to your recipient in person, you can download the personalised gift adoption certificate from the Adoptions section of your SWT account from the date of purchase. Please be aware, our adoption program is entirely digital so all correspondence will be sent via email and all access will be online.
You can create an adoption for yourself, or as a gift for someone else via the dedication adoption page Here you will find information about the rescued orphan elephants and rhinos, with an adopt button visible that takes you through the registration process.
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 adoption funds go to all the elephants, as some orphans attract more adopters than others. Presently there are more than 80 milk and Keeper dependent orphans being cared for between the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust's orphan units.
If you are having trouble choosing an orphan to adopt, we can help here.
If you have gifted an adoption, you are able to edit and amend the gift recipient’s name via ‘Adoptions’ section in Your Online Account. The adoption certificate will automatically be updated to reflect the amended name.
If you have gifted an adoption and the recipient has not activated their adoption yet, you can amend the gift recipient’s email via the ‘Adoptions’ section in Your Account and resend their confirmation email giving them access to their exclusive Orphans’ Project content.
If the recipient has already activated their adoption, you will not be able to update their email address. The recipient can do so themselves via their own account, or they can directly request us to make the change for them.
When setting up a adoption you can choose to adopt 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 adoption when you set this up, so if you choose to adopt for 10 years at the minimum US$50 per year, your initial donation would be US$500.
When your adoption approaches its anniversary, you will receive an email from the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust inviting you to renew your adoption for another year, so that you may continue to support and follow your orphan’s progress.
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust names the orphaned elephants we rescue 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.
For a gift adoption:
First, please check to ensure the email address for the gift recipient was entered correctly. The gift giver can access and check this in the ‘Adoptions’ section of their Account here.
If the email address is incorrect, the gift giver can update the email address and then re-send the adoption confirmation email to the gift recipient.
If the email address is correct, please re-send the adoption confirmation email and advise the recipient to check their spam or junk email folders to see if the email was received there.
For non-gift adoptions:
Please contact our Kenya office who can arrange for this to be resent.
Keepers' Diaries are published mid-month and provide daily entries as written by our Keepers for the previous calendar month.
Our Keepers’ Diaries covering the past three months are only visible to adopters. This is because it is through their support that we are able to rescue and care for the orphaned elephants. In light of their commitment to the orphans, they have special access to the latest news on the orphans in their My Account.
The most recent three months of Keepers’ Diaries can be accessed by adopters through their Online Account or via their monthly email update from us. If an adopter has chosen to receive our Orphans' Project communications, they will be emailed when the new Diaries are published.
The remainder of our Keepers’ Diaries are accessible to everyone here.
If you purchased the adoption for yourself:
Our monthly updates are sent automatically to the email address you created your adoption with. Please first check your spam or junk email folders to see if the email was received there. If you find our emails in your junk mail folder, please add the email address to your safe list of contacts to ensure future emails arrive directly to your inbox. You can also check that we have your correct email address by logging into your Online Account or you can send an enquiry to our Kenyan team using our contact form.
If you were gifted the adoption:
In keeping with our policies on protecting personal data, we require a gift recipient’s express permission to use their email address to send them the monthly email covering news from our Orphans’ Project. This can be done via the adoption confirmation email a gift recipient is sent on the day their adoption commences. If you cannot locate this email, the gift giver can resend the confirmation email to you. Please do confirm that they have your correct email address.
Alternatively, please contact us to arrange for it to be resent. If you already have an account on our new website, please check your spam or junk email folders to see if the email was received there. If you find our emails in your junk mail folder, please add our email address to your safe list of contacts to ensure future emails arrive directly to your inbox. You can also check that we have your correct email address by logging into your Online Account or please send an enquiry to our Kenyan team using our contact form.
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 Greater 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 Sheldrick Wildlife Trust operates Anti-Poaching Teams working in conjunction with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), of which eleven are based within the Tsavo Conservation Area, as well as SWT/KWS Mobile Veterinary Units. Together with our Aerial Surveillance Unit, consisting of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, 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.
Mid-month of every month, we send an email to active adopters, providing an overview of news from our Orphans’ Project for the previous calendar month and links to the Keepers’ Diaries, including Diary entries relevant to their adopted orphan. Our Keepers’ Diaries are published mid-month and provide daily entries as written by our Keepers for the previous calendar month.
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. Adoption 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 and fencing, vehicle maintenance, and Keeper salaries and quarters.
My Account is an account section on our website where donors can check and change their personal details and view their previous transactions. If the donor is an active adopter, they can also view their adoption(s) and:
If you have an online account with us and inform us you have forgotten your password, we will send you a password reset email.
If you are an adopter, you will have an account with the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust through which you can access a record of your adoption information and renew your adoption.
In rare circumstances, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust will request account holders to change their password. We will notify people of this via email, with a request to reset their password. These requests will only take place for security reasons and the protection of your data with us.
If you have an Online Account, you can update your personal details, check on the status of your adoption or make an additional donation at any time by logging into your Account.
All adopters are required to set up an online account when creating an adoption. If you received your adoption as a gift, you would have been invited to create an account in your initial welcome email. If you have forgotten your account password, you can request a password reset here.
If you are unable to update your personal details online, please contact your nearest Sheldrick Wildlife Trust office using the contact form at the bottom of this page.
If you have an account with us, you can manage your communication preferences, including subscribing to, and unsubscribing from, email updates via your account. If you do not have an account, you can use the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our email updates.
If you choose to unsubscribe from all email updates from the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, you will only be emailed by us again if you place a new order, such as an adoption or donations, as we must provide you with a receipt. You would also receive any critical account notifications, however we will not send you any emails about our conservation projects or fundraising opportunities.
We are deeply grateful to you for considering a gift to the 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 Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, 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.
Furthermore, for US and UK Citizens certain tax advantages may exist if you reference the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust USA or the UK registered charity The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust respectively in your Will. However, it is always best to consult with your advisor to confirm how this might apply to your own circumstances.
We encourage you to contact us so that we can discuss leaving a gift to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in more detail. If you live outside of the USA and are considering leaving a legacy to the SWT, you can find more information here.
Items are usually dispatched within 5 working days, but the shipping time can vary depending on where you live.
In busy periods (e.g. Christmas) please be aware that international post can experience long delays, of up 6 weeks. Please bear this in mind before getting in touch.
If your item has not arrived within the time periods stated above, please contact the relevant store from which you made your purchase, using the email address on your order receipt.
Donations made through the adoption program and on the main donation page of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust website are processed through the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust 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 Sheldrick Wildlife Trust USA do have tax benefits as allowed by law. Donations to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust USA are accepted via this website and, by phone, or by mail to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust USA.
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, and for higher rate taxpayers, this should allow for a deduction in your annual tax bill. You can complete a Gift Aid Declaration whenever you donate to us via the website, or by downloading our Gift Aid form.
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 our Kenya Office using our Contact Form to advise them of what you are intending to send and they will suggest whether they can accept it and, if so, how best to proceed.
The thought is very much appreciated, however we do not accept blankets sent to our Kenyan, UK or USA offices as it is too costly and logically cumbersome for us to receive or 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 Wish List – this funds the purchase of blankets from local Kenyan suppliers, which meet the needs of the orphans and serve to provide warmth, comfort and protection.
If you are a U.S. resident and made a donation to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust USA, you will automatically be sent a donation acknowledgement either through email or by letter mail. Please be advised donations made to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya and/or the UK are not tax deductible.
Based on its most recent audit, The (David) Sheldrick Wildlife Trust USA contributes 92% of funds received to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust for their conservation programs, with 8% being used for administrative and fundraising costs to support the US donor community.
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in the UK is a registered Charity in England and Wales. The Charity Registration Number is: 1103836. As of the 1st January 2019, the Charity is referred to as the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
Adoptions completed via our online adoption program are eligible for Gift Aid by UK taxpayers and you will be automatically given the option to Gift Aid your donation during the checkout process. Donations made via the UK office can also be Gift Aided - simply drop us an email with a completed Gift Aid Declaration and we will do the rest. Our contact information can be found on the Global Offices page.
Based on our most recent audit, The (David) Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in the UK directs 93% of funds to conservation projects, with 7% being used for administration, governance and international fundraising and communications costs.