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Playful Elephants Take Turns Sliding Down a Muddy Hill on a Rainy Day

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Adult Elephants Come to the Immediate Rescue of a Baby Elephant Who Fell Backwards and Couldn’t Get Up

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Orphaned Baby Elephants Learn How To Play Soccer At Orphanage in Nairobi

One of the non-adoption highlights of our trip to Africa in 2011 was visiting this elephant orphanage. Though none in the two groups we saw were kicking around a soccer ball.

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Saving the Elephants on Instagram

For more photos and videos from inside the elephant sanctuaries, explore the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Elephant Nature Park location pages.

Each year, an estimated 35,000 elephants are lost to poaching. In Africa alone, the elephant population has been reduced to less than half its size in 30 years as poachers seek to harvest their tusks to support illegal ivory trade. If unstopped, this rate could lead to extinction within the next 10 years.

In Nairobi, Kenya, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (@dswt) has established the Orphan’s Project. At their conservation refuge, volunteers take in and raise baby and adolescent elephants that have been orphaned after their parents have been poached. To date, the project has successfully recovered and raised over 150 orphaned elephants and reintroduced them successfully into the wild.

The Elephant Nature Park in Northern Thailand’s Chiang Mai provides similar refuge for Asian elephants. The organization rescues distressed elephants—elephants who have been abused by handlers or subject to damaging work conditions—and rehabilitates them within their sanctuary. They also stand as an important ecotourism destination where tourists and volunteers can come to interact with and learn about wildlife in responsible, constructive ways.

To learn more about the elephant crisis and how you can help, check out the following organizations:

Very cool to see Instagram highlighting the Sheldrick Trust. That was an amazing adventure we were able to take while in Kenya processing our youngest’s adoption visa.

Just say no to ivory.