When I Met Ambo
A little over a year ago, I met Ambo at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) here in Nairobi, Kenya. My cousin had come on holiday and we decided to take him to all of the most attractive tourist destinations in Kenya.
And it Begins
Our visit to the Wildlife Trust began late in the morning at around 11 AM. As the taxi, dropped us off at the main parking lot, we couldn’t help but notice a large number of cars parked around the lot. Obviously, we weren’t the only ones in town who had come to see the DSWT’s baby elephants.
As we waited in line, outside the gated entrance to the park, my excitement turned into anticipation. It was an
an anticipation of what was to come.
First came Mbegu, then came Ambo
Prior to my visit to the DSWT, I had started following their page on Instagram, which then led me to their website. Once on their website, I decided that I wanted to foster a baby elephant, and her name was Mbegu.
Mbegu’s story was what appealed to me. It was a very sad story, one of pain and loss. A story in which I wanted to play the role of helper, if not of savior. Mbegu in Kiswahili means seed; a seed from which the most beautiful flower can spur from. Mbegu had been left behind during an elephant stampede. The stampede was a result of the shooting of an elephant, by the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS), who had killed a woman. Mbege was left behind to endure the wrath of the angry villagers who sought justice for the death of that woman. She was beaten and shot at with arrows, before a kind stranger, took pity on her and hid her in a nearby classroom, till the DSWT rescue team was able to get to her.
After falling in love with Mbegu’s story. I had every intention of fostering her when I went to visit the DSWT that morning. But as I reached the front desk, my eyes fell upon Ambo’s booklet. He was a four-month-old calf who had gotten stuck in the mud and was therefore left behind by his herd in Amboseli. Ambo was one of the youngest calves at the DSWT and therefore he had fewer foster parents than Mbegu did.
Moreover, Mbegu had taken Ambo under her wing and had assumed the role of his older sister. She was looking out for him. I wanted to foster both of them, but my budget only allowed me to foster one and that one would have to be Ambo whose name derives from one of the most beautiful places in Kenya: Amboseli. Home to the ‘floating elephants‘. A place where I had the unforgettable experience of seeing one of the largest populations of African elephants in the world.
The DSWT was founded in 1977 by Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick DBE, in honor of her late husband, David Leslie William Sheldrick MBE, the founding warden of the Tsavo East National Park, in Kenya.
Since its inception, the DSWT has grown into one of the most successful orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation programs in the world. To date, it has hand-raised over 150 infant elephants at their orphanage and has successfully reintegrated them back into the wild herds of Tsavo.
Fostering a Baby Elephant
To find out more about the DSWT, head on over to the Travelista Club website and read my article about my visit to the DSWT. Also feel free to like and share this article via any of your social media outlets.
If you would like to foster one of these amazing baby elephants. by donating to the organization, fostering one of them, or even if you just want to see a baby elephant, you can either head on over to their website, visit their social media pages or take a trip to Kenya and visit them, here in Nairobi.