"Behind the numbers is a real tragedy of a very sentient creature, who really knows that there's a genocide going on," Ruggiero says. "They understand the concept of mortality. They show signs of mourning dead. They understand what tusks mean. They'll pick them up from a carcass."Richard Ruggiero, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Division of International Conservation
Their work is multi-dimensional, from educating local communities to international efforts to curtail the demand for ivory -- but one of their most endearing programs has to be the phenomenally successful baby elephant nursery, from where the youngsters are eventually returned to the wild.
Last week the tiniest baby elephant we have ever had came into our care from the remote Ndoto Mountains. Rescued and brought to the Nursery by helicopter this tiny bundle got delivered wrapped in a blanket, still petal pink and new our keepers looked on in disbelief as this tiny package was unwrapped. We named him Ndotto after his home, a beautiful and remote mountain range in northern Kenya. (Sheldrick Trust)
Why he was orphaned remains a mystery, but he was retrieved and rescued when discovered abandoned by a sympathetic Samburu community who cared for him for two days in their manyatta while they tried to get word out to the wildlife authorities. So remote is the region with no roads, that the only possible way to rescue this tiny baby was by helicopter.
Ndotto has not yet been placed on the fostering program, but in the meantime we wanted to share a short film of this rescue and how he is doing a week down the line. We thank all those people involved in saving Ndotto, but especially the kind hearted Samburu community of the Ndoto Mountains who went to such lengths to keep him safe.
To make a donation towards his rescue and care please click here.
The elephants in Africa are dying -- to provide trinkets and chopsticks -- faster than they are born. For more information, please check out the NPR story here. You can also sign petition to CITES by the Born Free Foundation.