Elephants have lived alongside us from very early civilizations. However our coexistence was not as peaceful and ideal. Because of their gigantic size and power, many have feared elephants - understandably so as they can be dangerous and even kill us. However their population has drastically dwindled. In the past century, we have lost about 90% of African elephants due to poaching, drought, habitat loss and conflict with humans.
Elephants are considered nature’s engineers. They are a keystone species. This means that they make it possible for a multitude of plant and animal species to thrive in the environment they live in. If we lose these beautiful giants, there would be a cascade of negative impacts on the local habitat, the species that depend on the shared ecosystems, and the overall balance and diversity of nature.
The Samburu People and The Reteti Elephant Sanctuary
Not very long ago, elephants in Northern Kenya were considered to be pests by local Samburu communities because they tend to collapse sandy watering holes where the cattle of these communities drink. But a grassroots initiative has changed the hearts of the Samburu people and now these very communities are united in caring for elephants and wildlife having seen the value they bring about.
The Reteti Elephant Sanctuary in Kenya is a community owned elephant orphanage focused on rescuing and releasing orphaned and abandoned elephant calves back into the wild. With its establishment in 2006, it has provided much needed opportunities and livelihoods for the Samburu community and at the same time reviving and improving wildlife.
The Samburu warriors who once hunted these majestic creatures are now its keepers - caring for orphaned and abandoned elephant calves. The Samburu community is strongly involved and are deeply invested in the welfare of the elephant calves. Heartbreak is felt all around when an elephant rescue dies. And when an abandoned calf pulls through, the entire community rejoices.
The Elephant Legend Bracelet
The Legend Bracelet Team visited the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary last Oct 2019 and witnessed firsthand the strong bonds between the Samburu people and the rescued calves. The Samburu people are doing great work for these beautiful creatures. Whenever an elephant calf gets trapped in the community’s sandy watering holes, which fortunately is not too often, the Samburo people readily take on the tedious labor of pulling the trapped baby elephant out. Keeping injured and weak elephant calves company for hours waiting for transport, preparing their milk, feeding them and playing with the orphaned elephants are some of the main tasks of the elephant keepers in the sanctuary. This new relationship between the elephants and people is an undeniable proof that hearts can be changed by simply raising awareness on how a peaceful coexistence between the wild and humans can be beneficial.
To help The Reteti Elephant Sanctuary with their mission of rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing orphaned elephant calves into the wild, we have partnered with the sanctuary and created the Elephant Legend Bracelet. To represent the beautiful work of the Samburu people of rescuing elephant calves, the bracelet contains sand from Kenya where the elephant orphanage is located.
Great News From The Reteti Elephant Sanctuary
2020 has been a challenging year and we all can use some good news! So here’s some awesome news we recently received from the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary - our partner for the Elephant Legend Bracelet.
The Reteti Elephant Sanctuary, despite the pandemic, remains steadfast in their commitment of saving baby elephants. At present, they have a total of 21 elephant calves in their care. They have successfully done their third translocation to Sera Rhino Sanctuary. A total of 10 elephants have now been released to Sera Rhino to begin their journey back to the wild. Additionally, the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary has just discovered that fresh goat milk is an effective formula in raising calves that are below six months old. This discovery has resulted in a 100% success rate and brought down their elephant mortality rate to zero.
How You Can Help
You can help the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary and the Samburu people continue their wonderful mission of rescuing and releasing orphaned elephant calves into the wild by simply spreading the word about what they do whether in social media or bringing it up to your friends and families in your conversations. The more we shine the spotlight on the important work they do, the more we can ensure that more baby elephants are rescued and that the livelihood of the Samburu people as elephant keepers is secured. Proudly wear the Elephant Legend Bracelet, which gives back to the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary, and spread awareness about their efforts in rescuing these beautiful creatures!