FAQs

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.

Visiting

Yes, our Orphanage / Nursery, which is located in Nairobi National Park, is open to the public for one hour every day, excluding 25th December, from 11am to Noon.

During this time the orphans can be witnessed enjoying a milk feed and mud bath (or soil dusting on cooler days). The visit is intended to provide an opportunity for visitors to learn about the work of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in the rescue and rehabilitation of orphaned elephants, with one of our Keepers giving a talk throughout the visiting hour, during which time they will tell the stories of the different orphans in our care and explain about the process of raising milk dependent baby elephants. With information provided about the wider threats facing elephants and the reasons there are orphans, as well as the work being done by the Sheldrick Trust and other organisations to protect elephants and wildlife in Kenya, the visit is both educational and informative. Throughout the talk, the elephants will be enjoying themselves eating greens, drinking their milk, playing with one another and on hotter days splashing about in the mud.

Entrance to the Orphanage for the visiting hour requires a minimum contribution of US$7 dollars / 500 Kenya Shillings per person. Please be aware that we accept cash only (no credit/debit cards or M-Pesa). There is also a small gift shop setup on-site, which is open during the public visiting hour, and there is the opportunity to adopt any of the orphans in our care - many of whom visitors will see on the day. Funds generated from the gift shop and adoptions are used to help cover costs incurred in the rescue and hand-raising of orphaned elephants and their protection in the wild.

Access to the Orphanage / Nursery is via the KWS Central Workshop Gate Entrance to Nairobi National Park, off Magadi Road in Langata.

As an adopter you can visit the Nursery at the daily public visiting hour between 11am - 12 noon (entrance fee applies) and by appointment at 5:00pm when the elephants return to the stockades for the night. The evening visit is strictly for adopters only and the date must be booked in advance of your intended visit by contacting our Kenyan Office using the form at the bottom of this page.

If you are an active adopter, we strongly advise you to book your 5pm visit as far in advance as possible. This is to avoid any disappointment that might arise should you leave it to the last minute and find we are unable to book you in, as we must limit the number of visitors at 5pm. This is for the well-being of the elephants, the Keepers and other adopters.

The 5pm visit is an opportunity for those people directly supporting the care of the orphans, active adopters, to witness the elephants returning from the forest for their evening milk feed and bedtime. At 5pm, adopters are led to an area between the Nursery and the forest where they are asked to congregate together, leaving space for the returning elephants. One of our Keepers is on hand at all times and will talk about the project and the elephants currently in our care. Shortly after everyone is together (usually between 5.05 – 5.15pm) adopters will be advised that the elephants are coming. The elephants return, often speedily as they are keen to get their milk, in groups of 3, 4 or 5, and will come right past the adopters on their way to their stable. During this time, one of our Keepers will identify who is who as they pass. Should you wish to take photos for your own personal use, have your camera ready, as the elephants can be very quick if they choose to be.

Once all of the orphans have returned from the forest, adopters are invited to walk around in the Nursery area, talk with the Keepers and meet the orphans at their stables, some of whom may be finishing their milk as you walk around. For the well-being of the elephants, it is only the Keepers that are allowed inside the elephant stables and only the Keepers that may bottle feed the elephants. The visit, which finishes at 6pm, is a wonderful opportunity for our adopters to get a feel for the Nursery and see and be close to all the orphans.

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. Our three Reintegration Units are located in the Greater Tsavo Conservation Area, with Voi and Ithumba in Tsavo East National Park and Umani Springs in the Kibwezi Forest.

Volunteering

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 page.


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.

Adopting

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.

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 four units.

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 My 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:

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 My Account or please send an enquiry to our Kenyan team using the contact form at the bottom of this page.

If you were gifted the adoption:

In keeping with our policies on protecting supporters’ 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 by creating an account with us and a link to do this would have been included in your adoption confirmation email. 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 My Account here or please send an enquiry to our Kenyan team using the contact form at the bottom of this page.

Our monthly Orphans’ Project email updates contain a link in the footer to unsubscribe. Alternatively, you can manage your communications yourself via your My Account here or contact us.

If you have gifted an adoption, you are able to edit and amend the gift recipient’s name via ‘Adoptions’ in My Account here. 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 here 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.

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 De-Snaring 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 two Supercubs, a Topcub, a Cessna 185 and a Hughes 500 helicopter and an Eurocopter AS350, 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.

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.

First, please check to ensure the email address for the gift recipient was entered correctly. To do this, go to My the ‘Adoptions’ section in your Account here.

If the email address is incorrect, you can update the email address and then re-send the adoption confirmation email to your gift recipient.

If the email address is correct, please re-send the adoption confirmation email and advise your recipient to check their spam or junk email folders to see if the email was received there.

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

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:

  • Download their personalised adoption certificate
  • Download the monthly water colour
  • Access special content including the most recent three months of Keepers’ Diaries, videos and photos

If a My Account holder advises us that they have forgotten their password, they will receive 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. When we launched our new website in March 2019, we were required to reset account passwords and notified relevant adopters via email of the need to create a secure password for their updated account with us. This is part of our commitment to enhanced security and protection of personal information.

In some 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 forgotten your My Account password, you can request a password reset here.

If you have a My 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 My Account.

All adopters are required to set up a My Account when setting up their adoption. If you received your adoption as a gift, you would have been invited to create a My Account in your initial welcome email. If you have forgotten your My 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 My 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.

Leaving a Legacy Gift

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 Citizens, certain tax advantages may exist to reference the US 501(c)(3), the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust USA in your estate documentation. However, it is always best to consult with your advisor.

We encourage you to contact us so that we can discuss leaving a gift to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in more detail.

Donating

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 the contact form at the bottom of this page 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 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.

Donating in the USA

 30-0224549

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 91% of funds received to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust for their conservation programs, with 9% being used for administrative and fundraising costs to support the US donor community. 

Donating in the UK

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 92% of funds to conservation projects, with 8% being used for administration, governance and international fundraising and communications costs.