Photo ©2005 Jaya Savannah.
Lualeni was my 2nd foster baby elephant from the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. She was found abandoned, a secondary victim of ivory poaching, as it was suspected her mother was killed for her tusks. She had tried to find protection with other elephants, but none would adopt her. Humans intervened and adopted her instead.
Lueleni was emotionally devastated and was slow to heal from her deep grief and depression from being orphaned. In 2005 (about 7 months after I began fostering her at the trust) I got to meet her. In the above photo, she was marching back home with a little elephant smile on her face after playing all day. She was just beginning to recover from her trauma. Keep in mind that although she already looks big in the photo below, she was only a one year old infant. It was such a treat to say good night to her as she was settling into her holding pen with her keeper for the night.
Another year later, Lualeni had really turned a corner in her rehabilitation, thanks to the elephant angels at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. It was an absolute thrill to see a video segment that BBC Television had done on her. Take a moment to watch it. It's very inspiring.
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Lualeni has continued to thrive over the last 5 years. She's been gradually reintroduced to the wild and been bonded with a new herd made up of other rehabilitated orphans. I cannot express enough how much I esteem the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Please take a look at their website and consider fostering your own orphaned baby elephant.