Kithaka is an orphaned elephant that our school has adopted. We adopted the elephant through The David Sheldrick Trust Orphans Project in Nairobi, Kenya.
The following has been taken from The David Sheldrick Trust Orphans Project : Foster an Elephant or Rhino Orphan website:
A tiny newborn elephant is orphaned, often its mother and family gunned down to serve the Ivory trade, its life support gone; any survivors fleeing in terror; its fate now suffering and death in hopeless and lonely isolation it cannot understand. For an elephant, the family is all important; its very existence dependent upon its mother's milk for the first two years of life and a life that should span three score years and ten, equivalent to that of man. In a perfect world that elephant life would be filled with fun and joy through the companionship of friends and a close-knit and loving family, whose love is pure and unconditional all the days of its life.
In one country in Africa, Kenya, an Elephant Nursery situated in Nairobi under the auspices of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, overseen by Dr. Daphne Sheldrick, whose elephant experience spans a lifetime, and with the cooperation of the Kenya Wildlife Service, for the first time ever now offers hope for any orphaned elephant fortunate enough to be found alive. It took Daphne Sheldrick 28 years of trial and error during the years that her husband was Warden of Kenya's largest and most important elephant Sanctuary, Tsavo East National Park, to perfect the milk formula and complex husbandry necessary to rear the orphaned infant African elephants. Today, with financial help of many caring folk world-wide, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is proud to have saved what amounts to a herd; over 60 orphaned infant calves that would otherwise have perished. More importantly, every one of these orphans can look forward to a quality of life in wild terms, living free in Tsavo East National Park encompassed by their new extended orphaned family and friends amongst the wild herds in a National Park that offers elephants the S P A C E they need - the 8,000 square miles of pristine wilderness that is TSAVO.
For more information in understanding our work, please see Understanding the Orphan's Project
None of this would have been possible without help of many people worldwide, for the rearing an infant elephant is an expensive and long-term commitment during the time it is dependent upon milk and a team of trained carers who represent the lost elephant family and are there for the little elephant until such time as it is comfortable amongst the wild herds and chooses to become independent. The time involved depends entirely upon the personality of each individual and also upon how well the elephant can recall its elephant family, but all the orphans reared by The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust are "elephants" again and integrated into the wild community by the age of ten, though always in their large elephant hearts will be a corner for the specific humans who were their family in infancy.