Approximately 5 years ago, my daughter Sabrina fostered an orphan rescued by The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) as a birthday gift to me. I fell in love, and monthly updates about the baby orphan's progress gave me the hope and the desire to save more of these incredible babies. This eventually inspired me to found Passion For Pachyderms (PFP)

 Baraka with my children Alexandre and Sabrina in Kenya, 1995


Passion for Pachyderms is a non-profit dedicated to preventing the extinction of African elephants in the wild. We are currently actively lobbying for the Federal government to enact a complete ban on all ivory regardless of its use. We are advocating that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ban import of all elephant "trophies".

I also volunteer for the Animals and the Law Committee of the NYS Bar and lobby in Washington for various animal causes like the delisting of wolves in the lower 48 from the Environmental Species Act. 


My love of animals began in early childhood when my father, Morton Wektein – my hero– instilled compassion for all living beings. When he returned from serving as a judge advocate in Alaska during World War 2, he took the long way home to enable him to bring back his adopted half dog/half wolf pet, whom he adored. My father was an environmentalist before the word existed. 

He inspired me with his honesty, integrity and kindness. My first pet was a harlequin Great Dane whom I named "Blazer". My father acquired him from a client in lieu of legal fees.  From that moment on, animals have always been a major part of my life. I brought my rescue cat Onyx to Cornell undergraduate school of Arts and Sciences where I majored in geology, Harvard graduate school where I specialized in mineralogy, then back to Cornell Law School where I studied environmental law. 

I've happily instilled my love and passion for animals in my children Alexandre and Sabrina who helped me host two benefits in 2013 and 2015 for The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which rescues and saves orphan African elephants with the goal of returning these orphans to the wild. 


Passion for Pachyderms is dedicated in loving memory of Baraka, a baby elephant with whom we fell in love; but who passed away when only 3 months old. Baraka is pictured below with my children, Alexandre and Sabrina, in Kenya in 1995.


Danielle Renda of Wag Magazine interviewed me on September 12th 2016 about my formation of Passion for Pachyderms. I thank Danielle for her excellent article

Thank you for your interest in Passion for Pachyderms. May our work together help these wonderful creatures.

– Helen LeBrecht, founder of PFP