By Alexander Robertson
More than 38,000 elephants are killed every year by ivory poaching, a trend which has led conservationists to estimate the extinction of the African elephant by 2025.
However, a charity based in Leatherhead is leading the fight against poaching in Kenya through its Nairobi nursery, which looks after orphaned elephants whose parents have been killed for their tusks.
The David Sheldrick Wildife Trust (DSWT) was founded in 1977 by Dame Daphne Sheldrick in memory of her husband David, who was the founding warden of Kenya's Tsavo National Park.
Although much of the hands-on work is carried out by the charity's army of rangers and keepers in Africa, it is kept ticking over behind the scenes by staff at its headquarters in Leatherhead.
Speaking from their offices in Bridge Street, director Rob Brandford told the Advertiser: "Kenya's wildlife is being pushed to the brink of extinction thanks to the lucrative illegal ivory trade.
"Human-wildlife conflict is leaving behind injured and orphaned wild animals that would not survive without intervention, and habitat destruction is endangering important biodiversity areas.
"Our teams work at a field level every day to put an end to poaching, preserve endangered habitats and rescue and care for injured animals so they can return to the wild."
Orphaned elephants rescued by the charity are hand-reared and rehabilitated before being released back into the wild when they come of age. More....