Elephant Orphanage Saves Lives


National Geographic has made a fascinating video about Daphne Sheldrick’s elephant orphanage, which takes care of young orphaned elephants until they are ready to be re-released into the wild. The Nairobi orphanage is a favorite destination among Ujuzi safari goers to Kenya. I had the opportunity to visit it in person last year and it was truly a life-changing experience to see these gentle youngsters – some as tall as me! – learn to eat and socialize together.

See a sample itinerary for a safari that includes a visit to the orphanage here.

Elephants Can Distinguish Languages

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Researchers in Kenya have discovered that African elephants can learn to distinguish among different human languages. They also seem to be able to tell the difference between when a man, a woman or a child is speaking.

A group of animal behaviorists observed that elephants retreat more quickly when they hear a man speaking the Ma language (the language of the Maasai). Women and children speaking Ma do not elicit the same response, and neither do men speaking Kamba, another Kenyan language. Scientists believe the elephants have developed a fear of Maasai men because of a history of hunting.

Kenya toughens poaching penalties

Poaching laws in Kenya have become more strict, with real teeth added to the penalties for killing protected species or exporting their products. Only a year ago, the courts were limited in the penalties they could hand out – in one case, a group of Chinese nationals were fined just $340 each for trying to smuggle out $20,000 worth of ivory.  But after a new law passed, a judge was able to fine a smuggler $230,000 or 7 years in jail for trying to sneak a piece of elephant tusk out of the country in his suitcase.

You can learn more about the anti-smuggling efforts of Kenya and other nations in these articles from The Gaurdian:

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