First Lady Love for Pachyderms

On Sunday, August 28th, eight First Ladies from Japan, Central Africa Republic, Mauririus, Mali, Somalia, Lesotho, and Côte d'Ivoire visited DSWT where they gave bottles and were moved by the orphan baby elephants' friendliness.  Dame Daphne Sheldrick spoke of rehabilitation of baby elephants after being rescued from the tragic slaughter of their mothers by poachers and of the goal of reintroduction once mature into the wild at Tsavo East and West. First Lady Margaret Kenyatta of Kenya emphasized the importance of protecting Kenya's wildlife treasured as a national heritage and of environmental conservation. She is a patron of "Hands Off Our Elephants" initiative.

Pictured below is a photo of First Lady Aki Abe of Japan and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta of Kenya giving a bottle to and caressing an orphan elephant at DSWT.

This is an extremely significant moment because Japan must close legal domestic ivory markets and close down on line sites selliing ivory and actively prevent trafficking of ivory. Akie Abe First Lady of Japan commented that although she had adopted 4 baby elephants in the past; however this visit truly moved her as the baby elephants held the bottles in their clumsy trunks with eyes curiously staring out at new nannies. She focused on Kauro-a 2 year old bull elephant who was rescued after falling down a well. Akie was surprised that she was crying.  Angela Sheldrick responded that she had connected and that all of the visitors were tears eyed!

Akie Abe First Lady of Japan posted the following on her Facebook page:

I was invited by First Lady Mrs Kenyatta, who is also doing a lot of conservation work, to visit the Sheldrick’s animal orphanage. Baby elephants who lost their mothers to poaching? They may have been traumatised by seeing their mother killed right in front of them, yet they come and so innocently play with us. Feeding them milk, stroking them? I felt a kind of connection with these babies. And before I realized I was in tears. It almost felt like touching God? More and more elephants are slaughtered for the sake of ivory. Elephants maintain our forests and protect our environments. We Japanese, who have a taste for ivory, must not turn our back on this issue as something happening far away? These wise words and the experience which inspired them prove once again what I have long known: that elephants are their own best ambassadors.