Ivory trade is still a booming business despite being illegal killing thousands of elephants each year and leaving defenseless offspring to fend for themselves. According to a fact sheet released by the Kenya Elephant Forum in January 2010, an estimated 38,000 elephants are killed annually to supply the ivory trade, and the population has decreased from 1.3 million African elephants in 1979 to just 470,000 roaming the continent today. Not surprisingly, the African elephant is considered endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act and by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi, Kenya was founded in 1977 by Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick in honor of her late husband to protect and preserve the now dwindling populations of elephants, particularly those who have been orphaned. The trust has saved over 60 orphaned calves that would have died under the conditions they were found in.
The online fostering program, which requires a minimum donation of just $50 per year, gives you the opportunity to financially support an elephant you choose. Theres Murka, who was found abandoned with a spear lodged in her head after her mother was poached. Murka, around two years old, is now recovering and learning to trust humans again after suffering this attack. Then theres little Naipoki, born in October 2010, who was rescued and rehabilitated after falling down a well.
If you choose to become a foster parent to one of the elephants, youll get a certificate with a profile and photo of the animal, as well as an interactive map indicating where the orphan was found, with a description of the habitat. Youll also get a monthly summary of the animal's progress and a link to the Keepers Diary for your elephant, where you can see updated photos and news about what your baby has been up to. All of this is now sent digitally, which helps keeps costs down for the facility and also keeps them green by not wasting paper.
In a fact sheet detailing elephants role in ecosystems, The Kenya Elephant Forum points out, "Elephants have co-evolved in the ecosystems of Africa and Asia for at least 50 million years." But if the current rate of elephant poaching continues, it could have damaging repercussions worldwide for the generations to come.
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.