Daphne Sheldrick

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Dame Daphne Marjorie Sheldrick, DBE (nee Jenkins; born 4 June 1934) is a Kenyan-British author, conservationist and expert in animal husbandry, particularly the raising and reintegrating of orphaned elephants into the wild for over 30 years.[1]

Life and career[edit]

The Kenya-born Daphne Jenkins was educated at Nakuru Primary School and the Kenya High School where she matriculated in 1950 with Honours and the possibility of a bursary to attend university; however she opted for marriage. From 1955-76, she was co-warden of Tsavo National Park with her late husband, David Sheldrick (MBE).[2][2]

During that time she raised and rehabilitated back into the wild community orphans of misfortune from many different wild species, including elephants, black rhinos, buffalo, zebras, elands, kudus, impalas, duikers, reedbuck, dikdiks, warthogs, civets, mongooses and birds. She is a recognized authority on the rearing of wild creatures and is the first person to have perfected the milk formula and necessary husbandry for both infant milk-dependent elephants and rhinos.[3][4]


For her work in this field, Sheldrick was decorated by the Queen in 1989 with an MBE, elevated to UNEP's Global 500 Roll of Honour in 1992, among the first 500 people worldwide to have been accorded this particular honour, and awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine and Surgery by Glasgow University in June 2000. In December 2001 her work was honoured by the Kenya Government through a prestigious decoration - a Moran of the Burning Spear (MBS), and in 2002 by the BBC when she received their Lifetime Achievement Award. In the November 2005 issue of the Smithsonian Magazine Daphne Sheldrick was named as one of 35 people worldwide who have made a difference in terms of animal husbandry and wildlife conservation.[citation needed]

In the 2006 New Year’s Honours List, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Dr. Sheldrick a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, the first knighthood to be awarded in Kenya since the country received Independence in 1963.[5]

Wildlife Trust[edit]

After her husband's death in 1977, Sheldrick created the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi.[3]

Film and Television[edit]

Sheldrick appeared as herself in the feature documentary Born to Be Wild 3D, which was released in April 2011.[citation needed]


  1. ^ ElephantOrphans.com website; accessed 6 May 2014.
  2. ^ a b David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust website, sheldrickwildlifetrust.org; accessed 6 May 2014.
  3. ^ a b Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 8 May 2012. ISBN 978-1-4299-4271-3. 
  4. ^ "Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story", Publishers Weekly, March 26, 2012; accessed May 6, 2014.
  5. ^ Appointed as Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) at the London Gazette, 31 December 2005, issue 57855, p. 23; accessed 6 May 2014.

External links[edit]