These heartwarming photos show the fun side of raising orphaned elephants at a wildlife sanctuary in East Africa.
The pictures were taken at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Elephant Nursery in Nairobi, Kenya, where orphaned elephants are raised by caregivers.
In these moving photographs, Peter Mbulu, a caregiver who has cared for elephants for over 23 years, can be seen playing with an orphaned elephant named Bondeni, who was rescued after wandering into a community alone; the elephant has since built a special bond with all his caregivers, including Peter.
Angela Sheldrick, CEO of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, said: “In the wild, raising an elephant calf is a family affair.
“That is where our Keepers come in, providing the love and support these babies need to thrive.
“Rescuing an orphaned elephant is an emotional investment that spans a lifetime—for when they embrace you as family, they never let you go.
“These babies would have been utterly reliant on their mothers for milk and protection—now they turn to human caregivers to provide the comfort, constant care, and nurturing they need to survive.”
Angela added: “Our Keepers are master diplomats, ensuring that every orphan feels special and singled out.
“Once they get older, they need exposure to the wild herds because, ultimately, every elephant that we raise lives a wild life again.
“We have successfully reintegrated more than 170 orphaned back in the wild where they belong, with many going on to start their own families.”
The playful scenes are encouraged at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, with the keepers having to give a lot of their undivided attention to the orphaned elephants.
The trust has successfully rescued and raised more than 260 orphaned elephants to date.
Epoch Times staff contributed to this report.