A Dame to Remember

A Dame to Remember

Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick, British, was born in Kenya in 1934 when it was still a British colony.

In 1960, she married David Sheldrick. He was the founding warden of Kenya's largest national park, Tsavo East National Park. 

They lived inside the park as co-wardens and took in wildlife orphans with the ultimate goal of reintroduction into the wild. Many were orphaned due to poaching or prolonged drought conditions.

Due to the nutritional needs baby elephants and rhinos require to survive, her focus was to create a formula for milk dependent elephants and rhinos. It took her 28 years, but she succeeded in developing a formula with coconut oil that worked to simulate the fat in elephant milk. She was the first person in the world to raise orphaned elephants and rhinos. Because of her formula, over 230 elephant orphans have been saved.

David Sheldrick, age 57, died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 1977. 

The David Sheldrick Trust was founded in his memory. Daphne's orphanage is in Nairobi National Park with outposts in Tsavo. For over 40 years, she protected and helped the world to understand elephants.   


Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick passed away April 12, 2018 at the age of 83, after her battle with breast cancer, but her legacy continues with her daughter, Angela Sheldrick as CEO (both shown in above photo).

After David Sheldrick's death, Dame Daphne and her family, started the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in his memory and Orphans' Project in Naroibi National Park with outposts in Tsavo. For over 40 years she protected and helped the world to understand elephants.

Fast Fact: For the first two years of life, a baby elephant needs about forty-two gallons of its mother’s milk each week (each elephant rescued gets five pints of milk every three hours, day and night). 

Daphne Sheldrick was honored with a MBE by Queen Elizabeth II. In 2000, she received an Honorary Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine and Surgery by the University of Glasgow. The Smithsonian Magazine in November 2005 issue, named Dr. Daphne Sheldrick as one of 35 people world-wide that made a difference in animal husbandry and wildlife conservation. On the 2006 New Years Honors List, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Dr. Daphne Sheldrick Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

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