Edwin cares for baby elephants that come to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust as orphans. These calves have lost their mothers through poaching or natural disasters and arrive traumatized. Some are so depressed that they die of broken hearts. Edwin urges the distressed calves, “Please heal. Please fight. Don’t give up.” It’s a spirit of hope he credits learning from the mentors at his Compassion center as a child in the program. His sponsors, Sean and Jennifer Ryan of Ohio, also wrote him letters of encouragement. In his office desk drawer, Edwin keeps the Bible he received as a boy at his Compassion center. “Compassion molded me in a religious way,” he says. “It brought my faith to where it is today.” It also deepened his empathy for vulnerable people and animals.
Just like Edwin’s sponsor and local church nurtured his spiritual and physical needs, Edwin now does the same for the elephants — like the 6-month-old above named Musiara. Without their mothers, calves like Musiara have few survival skills and are particularly vulnerable to psychological despair.
Newborn elephants weigh 170 to 250 pounds at birth. They drink about 3 gallons of milk per day and need the milk every three hours. That’s why Edwin arranges the schedules of 100 keepers so they will be with the calves 24 hours a day, providing a stable “family” environment. They play with them and care for them as a group during the day and sleep beside them in stables at night.