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The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is a non-profit in Kenya, a registered charity in England & Wales (1103836) and is supported by the U.S. Friends of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a 501(c)(3) in the United States. Images Š David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Joachim Schmeisser



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ABOUT THE DSWT Born from one family’s passion for Kenya and its wilderness. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is today the most successful orphan elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world and one of the pioneering conservation organisations for wildlife and habitat protection in East Africa.

MISSION STATEMENT David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust embraces “allThemeasures that complement the conservation, preservation and protection of wildlife. These include anti-poaching, safe guarding the natural environment, enhancing community awareness, addressing animal welfare issues, providing veterinary assistance to animals in need, rescuing and hand rearing elephant and rhino orphans, along with other species that can ultimately enjoy a quality of life in wild terms when grown.

A HISTORY IN KENYA Founded in 1977 by Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick DBE, in honour of the memory of her late husband, famous naturalist and founding Warden of Tsavo East National Park, David Leslie William Sheldrick MBE, the DSWT claims a rich and deeply rooted family history in wildlife and conservation.

1948 saw the beginning of David Sheldrick’s renowned career within the Royal National Parks of Kenya, where he worked unwaveringly for over two decades transforming Tsavo, a previously unchartered and inhospitable land, into Kenya’s largest and most famous National Park. David Sheldrick stands out, even today, as one of Africa’s most famous and proficient Pioneer National Park Wardens of all time. For over 25 years Kenya-born Daphne Sheldrick lived and worked alongside David, during which time they raised and successfully rehabilitated many wild species. Daphne Sheldrick’s involvement with wildlife has spanned a lifetime, and she is now a recognised international authority on the rearing of wild creatures and is the first person to have perfected the milk formula and necessary husbandry for infant milkdependent elephants and rhinos. Since the death of her husband, Daphne and her family have lived and worked in the Nairobi National Park where they have built the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and its pioneering Orphans’ Project into the global force for wildlife conservation that it is today.

OUR AMBITION The human population is expanding, pushing wildlife to the very brink of extinction and wild habitats to the edge of destruction.

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is determined to reverse the effects of the past and prevent the effects of the present, in the hope for a better future for both wildlife and mankind. Since its inception the DSWT has delivered outstanding results by leading the way in singlespecies conservation, and in doing so has evolved into a multi-dimensional conservation body ready to meet the growing challenges faced by Kenya’s threatened wildlife and habitats. The long term goal of the DSWT is to secure safe havens for wildlife, through the effective management and protection of key ecosystems and wilderness areas in Kenya. Through close working partnerships with the Kenya Wildlife Service, the custodians of Kenya’s wildlife, the Kenya Forest Service and local communities, the DSWT is taking the lead in securing vast tracks of land for wildlife.


To date, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has successfully hand-raised over 190 infant elephants and has accomplished its long-term conservation priority by effectively reintegrating the orphans back into the wild herds of Tsavo, claiming many healthy wild-born calves from former-orphaned elephants raised in our care.

Each elephant remains at the Nursery until they are ready to make the journey to one of three rehabilitation stockades located at either Voi or Ithumba in Tsavo East National Park or at Umani Springs in the Kibwezi Forest; a special stockade established for the Trust’s less-able elephant orphans. This second phase of rehabilitation proudly sees each elephant orphan’s gradual transition back into the wild herds of the Tsavo Conservation Area, taken at each individual’s own pace over a period of up to ten years, in which time they grow to be part a much loved human- elephant family, finally living their lives in wild freedom.

The DSWT is on call every day of the year, travelling throughout Kenya to rescue orphaned elephants and rhinos left alone with no hope of survival. Many of the orphans rescued are victims of poaching and humanwildlife conflict and are in a terrible state of emaciation and distress. After each orphan rescue, the long and complex process of rehabilitation begins at the DSWT’s Nursery nestled within the Nairobi

National Park. For milk-dependent elephant calves it is here, during this crucial phase, where they are cared for and healed both emotionally and physically by the DSWT’s dedicated team of elephant Keepers. These loving human Keepers, born into local communities throughout Kenya, take on the demanding role and responsibility of becoming each orphan’s adopted family during their rehabilitation. Each elephant remains at the Nursery until they are ready to

make the journey to one of two rehabilitation stockades at Voi or Ithumba in Tsavo East National Park, over one hundred miles south east of Nairobi. This second phase of rehabilitation at the Tsavo stockades proudly sees each elephant orphan’s gradual transition back into the wild herds of Tsavo, taken at each individual’s own pace over a period of up to ten years, in which time they grow to be part a much loved human- elephant family, finally living their lives in wild freedom.

ANTI-POACHING With the value of ivory and rhino horn increasing due to an insatiable demand, both elephant and rhino are under threat like never before.

To combat these devastating activities the DSWT operates nine fully-equipped Anti-Poaching Units working together with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). Eight of these units are protecting the greater Tsavo Conservation Area covering a vast 60,000km2, whilst one fully mobile unit is operating throughout the country where it is needed the most. These skilled frontline teams, accompanied by armed KWS Rangers, are equipped with vehicles, camping equipment, radios, GPS units and cameras,

patrolling daily to combat elephant and rhino poaching as well as the threat of bushmeat snaring. Thanks to extensive training, sophisticated technical experience and deep local knowledge, the teams are making a significant difference in deterring, prosecuting and preventing illegal poaching and snaring within a huge wildlife habitat. Supporting these vital ground teams is a Rapid Response Anti-Poaching Unit operated by armed KWS rangers selected from the Service’s top field recruits, whilst

a DSWT funded specialist Canine Unit with trained tracker dogs is joining the force to complement the solid security measures already in place. With data collected daily from the field, the DSWT is also utilising a sophisticated database to capture vital trends relating to wildlife and illegal activities. This data is a valuable indicator of wildlife trends for the Kenya Wildlife Service, the country and the scientific community as a whole.

AERIAL SURVEILLANCE Supporting the Kenya Wildlife Service in addressing the many challenges facing the Tsavo Conservation Area, the DSWT’s Aerial Unit is dedicated to its rapid response to emergency anti-poaching activities and capture operations.

In addition the Aerial Unit takes part in daily security patrols, search and veterinary intervention for injured elephants and wildlife, as well as search and rescue operations for orphaned elephant calves and wildlife emergencies. The Aerial Unit operates five aircrafts including a Topcub (5Y-DTP), 2 SuperCubs (5Y-STP and 5Y-WRB), a Cessna 185 (5Y-DHS) and a McDonnell Douglas 500 (MD 500e) Helicopter, all of which are active in the field throughout the Tsavo ecosystem as well as within the Lamu District. Aerial reconnaissance is a vital tool in the effective prevention of illegal activities and the DSWT’s combination of active ground teams and an ‘eye in the sky’ have resulted in many successes in preventing poaching attacks, apprehending poaching offenders and recovering tusks, whilst saving the lives of many injured elephants and other wildlife species due to poaching incidents.


The DSWT operates four fully equipped Mobile Veterinary Units and a Sky Vets initiative headed by Kenya Wildlife Service Vets.

These units alleviate the suffering of injured wild animals on an unprecedented scale. The Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit based at the KWS Voi Headquarters, covers an extensive area including the greater Tsavo Conservation Area as well as the Chyulu Hills National Park and the Shimba Hills National Reserve. The Mara Mobile Veterinary Unit covers the Masai Mara National Reserve, the adjacent Mara Triangle, neighbouring community areas,

as well as the Lake Naivasha and Nakuru areas within the Rift Valley; when needed the unit also operates as far West as Ruma National Park and Lake Victoria. The third Mobile Veterinary Unit is based out of Meru National Park and provides permanent veterinary support to the larger Meru ecosystem comprising of Meru National Park, Bisanadi National Park and Kora National Reserve, including all wildlife dispersal areas around the Eastern

Conservation Area, whilst also extending its services into additional parks and reserves in the Northern Conservation Area. The fourth Unit launched by the DSWT in partnership with the KWS operates from Amboseli National Park and services the Southern Conservation Area encompassing Kajiado, Namanga, Magadi, Lake Natron as well as the Southern Tsavo West area including Lake Jipe, an ecosystem famous for large number of elephants.

All four units are equipped with custom-made vehicles, darting hatches, equipment shelves, a fridge, an operating table and all necessary medicines and equipment required for rapid and effective veterinary response to any cases. The Sky Vets initiative funds and coordinates

the deployment of KWS vets to emergency wildlife cases throughout Kenya by air and is a vital addition to the DSWT’s veterinary program. Between Sky Vets and the four units over 1,500 wild elephants have been assisted and the lives of countless other species have been saved.


The DSWT sustainably supports the Kenya Wildlife Service in managing and protecting the country’s wildlife and wild habitats through many different projects including electric-fencing and infrastructure as well as water resource. With agriculture and human settlement encroaching into wildlife habitats, disrupting migratory routes and protected boundaries, the use of electrical fencing has become an important part of conservation management. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has been erecting and maintaining hundreds of kilometers of fencelines to limit this growing conflict over natural resources. This fencing has not only proved highly successful in reducing the effects of conflict between wildlife and

local communities but also in curbing the nocturnal intrusion of poachers and wildlife offenders. The DSWT has also focused on the important issue of water for many years during its work in the arid Tsavo Conservation Area. With limited rainfall, which in recent years has shown a drastic decline, arid areas such as Tsavo and Lamu are first to suffer from prolonged drought. To address this threat to the wildlife within these habitats, the DSWT has established many

boreholes and windmills to enhance the dry season productivity, as well as instigating temporary waterrelief programs to relieve suffering. Effective conservation management must also tackle the on-going maintenance of infrastructure in the field. The DSWT works throughout all its dedicated conservation areas clearing firebreaks, building roads and airfields, as well as establishing and expanding radio networks ensuring better communication.

SAVING HABITATS In order to protect the future of all wildlife and biodiversity, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is taking huge steps to safeguard unique and endangered wild habitats by securing Public-Private Partnerships with the Kenya Forest Service and Community Group Ranches. The Tsavo Conservation Area is Kenya’s largest wildlife refuge, harbouring the country’s single largest population of elephants and a greater biodiversity of species than any other conservation area in the world. In addition to the ongoing wildlife security programs and our elephant rehabilitation units at Voi and Ithumba, the Trust owns 4,000 acres of land adjoining the Tsavo East National Park.

This land, known as the Peregrine Conservation Area, is prime wildlife habitat and also serves as the DSWT field headquarters, providing support for all of the Trust’s Tsavo-based projects.

ECO-LODGES AND TOURISM Sustainable tourism is vital in supporting Kenya’s communities and diverse wildlife.

There is also the exclusive opportunity to stay at one of three camps operated by the DSWT including two camps in Tsavo East National Park; the original ‘Ithumba Camp’ and the new ‘Ithumba Hill’ property, as well as the ‘Umani Springs’ retreat in the Kibwezi Forest. Funds generated from these unique properties are allocated to the Kenya Wildlife Service for protection of the Northern Area of Tsavo East as well as to the Kenya Forest Service towards the protection of the Kibwezi Forest. The DSWT is continuously developing its tourism initiatives to further support local communities and showcase the remarkable habitats the Trust strives to protect.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH For over a decade the DSWT has worked to improve the livelihoods and educational standards of people living along the borders of Kenya’s National Parks and protected areas through the introduction of community initiatives and local employment.

From the funding of local radio programs, which educate thousands of listeners about the real value of the environment, to the establishment of educational programs, the DSWT works to help the communities build a promising future. In an effort to educate the next generation, on average over 63,000 Kenyan school children visit the Orphans’ Project at the Nairobi Nursery every year to learn about elephants and their environment. The Trust also funds up to 70 conservation- based field trips throughout the year where over 2,000 children are able to enjoy Kenya’s National Parks free of charge. Support is also given to over 20 schools bordering the Tsavo Conservation Area including funding for Tree Planting Programs. The DSWT has developed three mature tree nurseries, producing thousands of saplings, which are distributed to local communities and schools, encouraging families and children to plant, nurture and protect their trees and forested areas to instil a better understanding of the value of their natural resources.



Education, awareness and global action are key to stopping the demand for ivory which is fuelling the slaughter of elephants.

As a field based organisation, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust works on the front line to protect wildlife and prevent the suffering and killing of wild animals. Recognising the need for greater global awareness of the illegal trade in ivory, which is claiming the lives of 36,000 elephants annually, the DSWT launched iworry in 2012.  The campaign is based on the premise that everyone has a stake in conserving elephants and that we must come together if we are to successfully educate and inform people as to the existence of the illegal ivory trade, the devastating toll it is having on elephant populations and through that, call on governments from around the world to take proactive steps to tackle this illicit trade and save elephants.

Sharing the evidence of poaching witnessed by DSWT teams in the field, iworry utilises social media, petitions, imagery, the press and public marches to create an awareness of the existence of the ivory trade and its impacts. The loss of elephants in the wild, an iconic, intelligent and social species, would not only make the world a lesser place it would have serious environmental and economic repercussions. The iworry campaign calls on world governments to make the illicit ivory trade and wildlife crime a priority issue, to make a financial commitment to security enforcement and to impose a complete ban on all ivory sales.  More about the campaign and how to get involved at

I am determined not to let the world’s children grow up on a planet where our most iconic and endangered species have been wiped out.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, addressing the World Bank, December 2014

WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT The DSWT is a non-profit in Kenya, a registered charity in the UK and supported by the U.S. Friends of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a 501(c)(3) in the USA.

The DSWT’s lifesaving work is entirely reliant on donations and financial support from those who are committed to protecting wildlife and conserving habitats. Working with minimal financial overheads and retaining a lean administrative team, the DSWT ensures that more funds can be used in the field where they are needed. Please contact one of the registered offices below or visit our website to find out how you can help secure a future for wildlife.

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (UK)

U.S. Friends of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

P.O. Box 15555 Mbagathi, 00503 Nairobi Kenya

2nd Floor 3 Bridge Street Leatherhead KT22 8BL United Kingdom

201 North Illinois Street 16th Floor - South Tower Indianapolis, IN 46204 USA

+254 (0)733 891 996

+44 (0)1372 378 321

+1 (317) 610 3245

Saving wildlife and wilderness is the responsibility of all thinking people. Greed and personal gain must not be permitted to decimate, despoil and destroy the earth’s irreplaceable treasure for its existence is essential to the human spirit and the well-being of the earth as a whole. All life has just one home - the earth - and we as the dominant species must take care of it. Dr Dame Daphne Sheldrick DBE

An Overview of the DSWT  

Here you can find information about all of the DSWT's projects.

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