On May 8th Dame Daphne Sheldrick stepped onto the stage of the LeFrak Theatre in New Yorks American Museum of Natural History and before uttering a word, she received a standing ovation from the 800 strong audience.
Dame Daphne had been invited to give a talk to mark the US publication of her long awaited autobiography, titled Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story. The evening began with an introduction from Associate Curator at the Museum, Christopher Raxworthy, who stressed the point that over the past 30 years the population of elephants has fallen from 1.2million to less than 500,000 today, a shocking reality. Before DSWT Patron Kristin Davis gave an insightful account of her own direct involvement with elephants, Daphne and the Trust, which really began when on safari in Kenya her group came across an orphaned baby elephant. They helped to rescue this elephant, who was later named Chaimu and is currently one of the orphan under the Trusts care in Ithumba.
Then came the moment the audience had been waiting for, Dame Daphne Sheldrick, who has dedicated her life to the protection of Kenyas wildlife, came to speak once the heart moving spontaneous standing ovation had ended. Insightful, humorous and inspirational, Daphne spoke with the same passion and knowledge that comes out through every page of her autobiography.
The event at the American Museum of Natural History marked the last major engagement in what was a gruelling schedule of media commitments for Dame Daphne in New York. Daphne taking every opportunity in the various media formats of TV, radio and print to help inform viewers, listeners and readers as to the intelligence of elephants and their social structure, which so closely matches are own. Using the exposure to draw attention to the current plight of elephants, under increasing threat due to an increased demand for ivory which is being fuelled by China and Far Eastern Nations, where it is seen as a symbol of wealth and stature.
One interview was on CBS This Morning, where Dame Daphne found herself in the green room alongside the actor Colin Firth, who has himself visited the DSWTs orphanage in Nairobi and witnessed first-hand the work of the Trust to protect elephants. Colin preceded Daphne on the show and used part of his own interview time to share his experience of the charitys work and its importance. Daphnes interview on CBS This Morning can be seen at: http://cbsn.ws/NWtwzL
It is also possible to watch Daphnes talk at the AMNH, which is available at: http://youtu.be/PqgPEMlycrI
If you would like to purchase Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story you can do so direct from the Trust here: http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/html/anafricanlovestory.html