Heartfelt Bonds and Lifelong Dedication: The Emotional Journey of Rescuing Orphaned Elephants. na

As we delve into the holiday season, Angela Sheldrick, surrounded by a diverse family of two- and four-footed members, reflects on the profound and enduring connections she shares with elephants.

Beyond being a duty, rescuing orphaned elephants becomes an emotional investment that spans a lifetime—a journey marked by both immense highs and devastating lows, yet unwavering commitment to these majestic creatures.





The connection between humans and elephants surpasses the ordinary. Henry Beston’s words resonate, highlighting the necessity for a wiser and more mystical understanding of animals.

Elephants, complex and emotional beings, live in realms that evoke awe. Their deep emotions, intense love, and lifelong bonds defy the human-elephant divide.



Among the countless orphans, Aisha stands out as a remarkable elephant under Angela’s mother’s care since 1974.

Aisha’s arrival led to successful milk formulas benefiting orphans today, showcasing the emotional complexity of elephants.

Her unbreakable bond with Angela’s mother, Daphne, and the heart-wrenching decline in her absence exemplify the depth of these relationships.



Reflecting on other orphans, Angela recalls Ndololo, born blind, who formed a special bond with her and her children.

His vulnerability and heightened senses endeared him to their hearts, making his eventual passing a profoundly emotional moment.

However, many stories have happier endings, with orphans thriving in the wild, some even raising their own families.


Elephants, with their familial approach to raising calves, mirror human families. Keepers provide the love and support needed for orphaned elephants to thrive.

The formative years influence the adults they become, and when raised with love, elephants embody these values, nurturing their own families in kind.

Elephant emotions, akin to human emotions, are diverse—capable of immense love but also displaying pettiness, jealousy, and even mean behavior.



Keepers navigate these complexities, ensuring each orphan feels memorable and cherished. Orphans, in turn, select their Keepers, a process guided by the elephants’ ability to read hearts.

Angela shares the touching story of Benjamin Kyalo, the Ithumba Head Keeper, selected by elephants over two decades ago through a heart-reading interview.

Elephants never forget the love they receive, evidenced by ex-orphans, now fully wild, introducing their newborns to the people who raised them.



Ndume’s story highlights elephants’ generosity of spirit. Despite surviving a traumatic event at the hands of humans, he embraced his Keepers as family.

A decade later, Ndume’s joyous reunion with his Keepers showcased the enduring bonds formed between humans and elephants.

Family is the essence of an elephant’s life. Love is their guiding force, evident in the protective actions of mini matriarchs, orphans accommodating newcomers with disabilities, and ex-orphans proudly introducing their newborns.



Earning an elephant’s love is a privilege and a genuine, lifelong connection that transcends boundaries.


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