You might not think thick-skinned elephants in Africia would have any use for blankets, but orphaned elephants at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi National Park, Kenya, are extremely vulnerable to nature’s elements without their mother and protective herd by their side.
Orphaned baby elephants need full time protection, not just from poachers and predators, but from the wind, rain, cold and hot sun during the heat of the day. Highly susceptible to pneumonia, without the protection of their fluffy blankets, the cold could claim the lives of many orphaned elephants. This is why they urgently donations to pay for tailor-made fluffy blankets for warmth and raincoat blankets for when the heavens open.
These blankets provide protection and warmth for the young elephants, but also play another crucial role. Bottle feeding a baby elephant is not easy as they rely on their mother for reassurance and a place to rest their trunk while feeding. But this habit has been recreated thanks to some larger, grey blankets. Hung up in the stockades or out in forest the blankets may not appear to be fooling anyone but the orphans are reassured by this stand-in mother, and those hesitant to accept milk can be comforted.
The young elephants are eventually weaned off their blankets and are ready to start their journey to the wild. This happens when the elephants reach between 12 and 18 months old. But whilst they are young there needs to be plenty of blankets to go around.
It's only thanks to supporters and donations that these lifesaving blankets can be provided. If you would like to donate you can through the website www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org
You can also foster an orphan and help make their wish of a life in the wild come true by clicking here.
- There's more heartwarming animal stories in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday