Wild Orphans Hardcover – May 1 2002
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Author and photographer Ellis had been documenting animal orphanages in Africa when the "Orphan 8" entered his life in 1999. These eight baby elephants arrived at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust orphanage on the outskirts of Nairobi during an intense drought and increase in ivory poaching. Daphne Sheldrick (who penned the introduction) has pioneered a technique for raising baby elephants and rhinoceroses for eventual return to the wild. It involves 24-hour care and attendance by a dedicated group of caretakers: the little elephants are encouraged, cajoled, stroked, and continuously handled to encourage bonding, for without this bond they would die. The care and concern pictured in Ellis' heartwarming photos must be seen to be believed. The intimate text explains the reasons for many of the techniques used when rearing baby elephants and is often as evocative as the photos. The journey of the Orphan 8 to Tsavo National Park, where they are adopted by Malaika (herself a graduate of the orphanage), completes the story. Nancy Bent
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The close and caring bond between the Keepers and the young elephants was immediately obvious to me. Because the baby elephants will be re-introduced to the wild, if possible, the orphans are protected as visitors are not allowed more than one hour per day to view them.
The book tells the true story beginning with the plight of the elephant, not only in Kenya, but elsewhere from poaching, drought,,environmental forces and human interference. - to the rescue, care, training and ultimately,their reintroduction to the wild. This Wildlife Trust is saving baby elephants in a unique way. I found the facts provided by the dedicated Keepers who live, eat, sleep and play with the little pachyderms to be especially touching.
The book, Wild Orphans, was interesting to me because of my visit there. I think anyone who cares about African wildlife, particularly elephants will enjoy both the photographs and the true story told in this book.
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