Saturday, August 27, 2011

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Nairobi Elephant Nursery

This week I am doing something special for the new Our World, my first PicStory and my Friday Ark and Camera Critter. I do not advertise on my blog but I was happy to receive a request to do a blog post from National Geographic. The featured story is on the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust's Nairobi Elephant Nursery in Kenya. I read this story sometimes with tears in my eyes and sometimes with a smile on my face. It is a touching story and a wonderful thing happening at this elephant nursery. I believe in conservation and protecting the wildlife and endangered critters and that is what this story is about. I want to thank the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and to the wonderful keepers of these orphaned elephants.

 National Geographic (credit: National Geographic)

The following excerpt comes from the September issue of the National Geographic magazine, on newsstands now and the link to

These are sad and perilous days for the world's largest land animal. Once elephants roamed the Earth like waterless whales, plying ancient migratory routes ingrained in their prodigious memories. Now they've been backed into increasingly fragmented territories. When not being killed for their tusks or for bush meat, they are struggling against loss of habitat due to human population pressures and drought. A 1979 survey of African elephants estimated a population of about 1.3 million. About 500,000 remain. In Asia an estimated 40,000 are left in the wild. And yet even as the elephant population dwindles, the number of human-elephant conflicts rises. In Africa, reports of elephants and villagers coming into conflict with each other appear almost daily.

The plight of elephants has become so dire that their greatest enemy—humans—is also their only hope, a topsy-turvy reality that moved a woman named Daphne Sheldrick to establish the nursery back in 1987. Sheldrick is fourth-generation Kenya-born and has spent the better part of her life tending wild animals. Her husband was David Sheldrick, the renowned naturalist and founding warden of Tsavo East National Park who died of a heart attack in 1977. She's reared abandoned baby buffalo, dik-diks, impalas, zebras, warthogs, and black rhinos, among others, but no creature has beguiled her more than elephants.

Orphan infant elephants are a challenge to raise because they remain fully dependent on their mother's milk for the first two years of life and partially so until the age of four. In the decades the Sheldricks spent together in Tsavo, they never succeeded in raising an orphan younger than one because they couldn't find a formula that matched the nutritional qualities of a mother's milk. Aware that elephant milk is high in fat, they tried adding cream and butter to the mix, but found the babies had trouble digesting it and soon died. They then used a nonfat milk that the elephants could digest better, but eventually, after growing thinner and thinner on that formula, these orphans succumbed as well. Shortly before David's death, the couple finally arrived at a precise mixture of human baby formula and coconut. This kept alive a three-week-old orphan named Aisha, helping her grow stronger every day.

All photo credits: ©Michael Nichols/National Geographic

Dedicated keepers at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust's Nairobi Elephant Nursery in Kenya protect baby Shukuru from the cold and rain, and the risk of pneumonia, with a custom-made raincoat.

Even orphaned babies out for their morning walk from the nursery seem to understand the complex structure of elephant society. Here the oldest orphans lie down to invite the younger ones to play on top of them.

The introduction of orphan elephants to Tsavo National Park is bringing wild herds back to a region devastated by poaching decades ago. Ithumba mountain is near the park's northern border.

Again credits for these awesome photos by : Michael Nichols/National Geographic

My interest in elephants has really peaked from seeing them recently at the National Zoo and especially two weeks ago when I heard that the elephants at the Baltimore Zoo linked trunks and all clustered together before the earthquake was felt. It is amazing these animals are so sensitive. Being an animal lover, one of my dream trips is to do an African Safari and to see these wonderful animals in the wild.

You can check out the whole story in the September issue of the National Geographic magazine on newstands on August 30.  I really enjoyed reading this beautiful story about the orphaned elephants and I hope you all do too. It is also cool that you can go to the Sheldrick wildlife trust site and adopt one of these orphaned elephants. Thanks to the hosting group at  Our World  PicStory and Friday Ark and to Misty Dawn of Camera Critters.

Thanks to everyone for visiting my blog and post.. I hope the end of your week is great and that everyone has a great weekend.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Lions, Tigers and Bears

For my Camera Critters I am showing some of the critters hubby and I saw while visiting the Smithsonian National Zoo in DC.  

Some of my favorite critters at the zoo, the Panda bears, monkeys, orangutans, elephants and the tigers.

One of this zoo's big atttraction is the Panda Bears and the lions cubs were on my list of animals to see. I wanted to see how much they have grown since our last visit. They have grown a lot and all 7 cubs are doing well.

Below the Prairie Dog is looking a little chubby but not as big as the elephant. The Orangutan was climbing the tower while we were there and I love the meerkat's pose for me. I enjoyed seeing the Howler Monkey but it was much nice seeing them wild  in  Costa Rica .

A chubby Prairie Dog

I hope you enjoyed my critters from the Smithsonian National Zoo and to see more cute and wonderful critters please visit Camera Critters. Thanks to Misty Dawn for hosting this fun critter meme. Also, thank you for visiting my post. I hope everyone have a safe and happy weekend.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

SWF.....Sunset while cruising

For my Skywatch Friday I am showing some of the sunset photos from our cruise ship. Also, a shot of the moon. We had gorgeous skies while cruising and I enjoy skywatching.  This is most likely the last cruise we will take. We have enjoyed cruising Alaska ,   Western Caribbean , Eastern Caribbean  and this last one to Bermuda.  You can click on my link to see pic's from my previous cruises. But, we really enjoy the fly-drive type vacations. Stopping where we want and as long as we want.

These are in the same sequence as I took them but a few of them are zoomed in closer to the sun.

I like the long line of clouds just hanging over the ocean in this shot below.

I hope you enjoyed my skies and sunset. Take some time and enjoy the beautiful skies from around the world please visit Skywatch Friday.  Thanks to the hosting group: Sylvia, Wren, Sandy and Klaus.

 Also, thanks for stopping by to see my post. I wish everyone a great weekend and beautiful skies.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Bermuda's Green Sea Turtles and other critters

For my Camera Critter  post I am showing the Green Sea Turtles we saw while touring Bermuda. Our guide stopped to show us these Green Turtles outside the aquarium. A group of children were there feeding the turtles lettuce (at least it looked like lettuce)  when we got there at end of  their feeding time and we were offered the leftovers to feed.

Bermuda has a great conservation program going on for the Green Sea Turtles. The link above explains the history of the Green Sea Turtle, fished almost to the point of extinction. I am happy that Bermuda cares so much about these endangered animals. In the USA it seems to be a constant battle to keep animals and birds on the endangered list and to protect them. Being an animal lover, I am all for protecting all the species that may be even close to being endangered or near extinction.

These Green Sea turtles looked like gentle creatures, we just had to watch our fingers when feeding them. My son and his friend were doing the feeding while I was taking photos.

The water in Bermuda is so clear you can look down and see the fish.

I always enjoy seeing the critters and that includes this cute Lizzy the lizard.

I hope you enjoyed my Green Sea Turtles and critters from Bermuda. To see more cute and wonderful critters check out Misty Dawn's Camera Critters. Thanks  to Misty for hosting and thanks for stopping by to see my post.