Zongoloni was just 18-months old when she became an orphan of the ivory trade and witnessed her mother gunned down by ivory poachers. Despite treatment from DSWT and KWS Vets who did the best they could to remove shattered bone and treat her wounds, two weeks later this baby elephant was found guarding the body of her dying mother - chasing away our elephant keepers who came to rescue her.
One can't comprehend the levels of grief and trauma this tiny baby elephant must have suffered, and understandably when Zongoloni first arrived at the nursery, she was extremely wary of the keepers given her experience with humans so far. But thanks to love, support and 24/7 care from a dedicated group of Kenyan men who act as our elephant keepers, she overcame her trauma and found a new family in the form of the other orphans in our care.
In several years time, Zongoloni will return to the wild and have a family of her own; it is our responsibility to ensure these orphans don't end up as another horrifying statistic and can live out their lives in the wild, free from threat.
Every day at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust might be an Elephant Day, but Aug. 12 presents a chance for us to make a difference together, celebrate all things elephant - and a reminder of the plight facing the species.
Find out how you can join us in celebrating World Elephant Day at: www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/WED