One of the most positive experiences I had in Africa was visiting the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Located just outside Nairobi, Kenya, the Trust rescues elephants and rhinos orphaned by drought, famine and ivory poaching.
Humans can learn a lot from elephants. First, they respect their elders. Herds, which can stay together for decades, always follow the oldest female elephant. Elephants are also extremely family-oriented, maintaining extremely close social ties within their pachydermal communities. Most importantly, they remember the smallest acts of kindness for their entire lives.
After sharing these and other fascinating facts about elephants and the most pressing threats to their survival, keeper Edwin Lusichi granted us an impromptu interview.
WHFM: What motivated you to pursue a career in conservation and animal protection?
Lusichi: I think it’s a responsibility because we are God’s creatures. He gave us charge over the animals, so it is our responsibility to offer them every protection. It is unfortunate that it is human beings who cause elephants to be orphaned. We need to come to our senses. God commands us to take care of the animals.
WHFM: How do most elephants become orphans?
Lusichi: Increasing human population, ivory trade and drought. Drought has affected lots of animals, including the females who have young ones. We used to be able to tell the seasons—when it would rain and when it would be dry. Lately, you cannot tell the climate.
WHFM: Population growth and natural disasters are complex problems that require comprehensive solutions. Is there anything simple that people can do now to help protect Africa’s elephants?
Lusichi: Stop buying things made from ivory, including rhino horns. Then the poachers would not have a market.