Paying tribute to Daphne Sheldrick, the 'elephant mother'
Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick D.B.E 1934-2018
We are saddened to learn of the passing of Dame Daphne Sheldrick, one of East Africa's – and the world's great conservation champions. She died on April 12th at the age of 83, following a battle with cancer.
Daphne will be best remembered for her pioneering work with elephants in her Kenyan homeland. She founded the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) in 1977 in honor of her late husband – David, who was also a noted conservationist in East Africa. Daphne used the trust to rescue and raise orphaned baby elephants – many of which had lost their parents to poaching and drought, before reintegrating them into the wild.
One of Daphne's most important contributions was to develop (over many years) a milk formula especially suited for baby elephants. This project has been successful in saving the lives of hundreds of elephants which would otherwise have had little chance of survival.
At Frontiers, we've been privileged to see Daphne's work first-hand, and have had countless clients visit the DSWT's elephant orphanage in Nairobi National Park. As well as helping to support the trust's work, these visits provide a fantastic opportunity to get close to its wonderful and incredibly cute resident baby elephants. Plus, as you might know, we are ourselves proud sponsors of one the DSWT's elephants, Mbegu – it has been a delight to watch her remarkable progress under the loving care of the Trust.
While Daphne is sadly no longer with us, she leaves an extraordinary legacy. Not only did she contribute so much to the protection of Africa's elephants – she also inspired a generation to understand and care about these intelligent, sensitive and majestic animals.
The work of the DSWT goes on under the capable watch of her daughter Angela, who has been CEO of the Trust for almost 20 years. We leave the last word to Angela, who broke the news of Daphne's death:
“Her legacy is immeasurable and her passing will reverberate far and wide because the difference she has made for conservation in Kenya is unparalleled.”
To read more about Daphne’s work and to find out how you can make a difference, visit: The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.