Sometimes you visit a place, not knowing what impact it’ll have on you, and when you leave it, all you want is to return! For me, that place is Kenya.
I have had the opportunity, in high school and again after graduating from college, to go to Kenya, to a small village on the coast of Lake Victoria to do some missions work in orphanages. The first time, I didn’t have a fancy camera to document the trip, but the second time I did and took full advantage of it. Each and every photo I took has a story behind it!
During the second trip, my family and I had the chance to visit David Sheldrick’s Wildlife Trust in Nairobi. This organization is one of the most successful orphaned elephant rescues in the world. They rehabilitate babies that have lost their mothers due to, or have been directly impacted by, the poaching industry. Most of the poaching is for Ivory, but elephants will also be hunted for bush meat and to prevent (or get revenge for) human-wildlife conflicts.
The elephants seen here are two of the cuties that were in the process of being rehabilitated when I visited in 2015. All elephants at this wildlife trust are babies or very young juveniles. As of today, they have successfully raised and released over 150 elephants back into the wild!
To learn more about their amazing work or to get to know some of the elephants in need, click here!
Also seen at David Sheldrick’s Wildlife Trust were a pair of Ostriches who were rescued. It’s amazing how when raised together from a very young age, completely different species can become friends and live together in harmony! This ostrich (along with the other one seen there) appeared to think that it was a baby elephant, often playing among and with the herd of large, baby mammals. It would walk through mud, pick up tree branches to swing around, and poke some of the elephants!
These Egrets can often be seen right around Lake Victoria. As wading birds, their primary food is fish so naturally they love hanging around near fishermen, waiting to see if they can sneak a meal! While the Great Egret (the one with the yellow bill to the left) had relatively low numbers in America due to hunting for it’s plumage, it’s a common bird in Africa. The Little Egret (the one perched on the boat) was similarly hunted for it’s plumage and it’s populations are now back to where they should be. During their migration they stop at Lake Victoria and may reach over 25,000 at one time at the lake!
This is a Rothschild Giraffe (named Kelly, who gave me lots of wonderful giraffe kisses!) at the Giraffe Center (African Fund for Endangered Wildlife) in Nairobi. This centers goal is to provide education to the local school groups (and to international tourists!) and to help increase the population of this endangered giraffe species through breeding programs and conservation efforts. To learn more about their conservation efforts, click here!
The Rothschild giraffe is only found in the grasslands of Eastern Africa and no where else. In the early 1980’s, there were roughly only 130 of these giraffes left, mainly due to habitat loss due to human development. Today, thanks to the efforts of conservationists, there are now over 300 Rothschild Giraffes scattered throughout Kenya’s National Parks!
Want to bring one of these animals to your home? Do it through art! Getting a Kenyan Wildlife Mug set is a great idea, but framed prints work too! Visit my Products Page to learn how to place an order today or visit my Etsy shop, The Art of Ecology, to see these photos and more as prints! Remember, a portion of all of the proceeds here goes back to support organizations like David Sheldrick’s Wildlife Trust and the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife, so every purchase is for a good cause!