Daphne Sheldrick

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Daphne Marjorie Sheldrick
Daphne Jenkins

(1934-06-04)4 June 1934
Died12 April 2018(2018-04-12) (aged 83)
Nairobi, Kenya
Known forDavid Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
Spouse(s)David Sheldrick
Scientific career

Dame Daphne Marjorie Sheldrick, DBE (née Jenkins; 4 June 1934 – 12 April 2018) was 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]


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

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.[citation needed] She was a recognized authority on the rearing of wild creatures and was the first person to perfect the milk formula and necessary husbandry for both infant milk-dependent elephants and rhinos. When she first made attempts to keep the orphaned babies of elephants alive, often at one or two years old, with other milk sources, they remained malnourished and faded into death. It was only after trying every combination she could find that she hit on one baby milk formula from Europe, which contained coconut oil, that seemed to work. [3][page needed][4][better source needed]

Sheldrick died on 12 April 2018 at the age of 83 after a battle with breast cancer.[5]

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust[edit]

After her husband's death in 1977, Daphne Sheldrick created the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) in Nairobi, Kenya. Embracing the conservation, preservation and protection of wildlife in Kenya, the DSWT today operates the most successful orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation programme in the world alongside Anti-Poaching Teams, Mobile Veterinary Units and Aerial Surveillance and a Sky Vet initiative in partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service. Other projects which aim to safeguard the natural environment and enhance community awareness include Saving Habitats and Community Outreach projects.

Best known for its pioneering Orphans' Project, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has successfully rescued over 180 orphaned elephants and reintegrated over 90 back into the wild. [6]


For her work in this field, Sheldrick was awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II in the 1989 Birthday Honours,[7] and separately elevated to UNEP's Global 500 Roll of Honour in 1992, where she was among the first 500 people worldwide to have been accorded this particular honour.[citation needed] Sheldrick was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine and Surgery by Glasgow University in June 2000.[citation needed] In December 2001 her work was honoured by the Kenyan Government through the prestigious Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear (MBS) decoration.[citation needed] In 2002, the BBC recognized Sheldrick with their Lifetime Achievement Award.[citation needed] 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.[8] Queen Elizabeth II promoted Daphne Sheldrick a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2006 New Year’s Honours List, "[f]or services to the conservation of wildlife, especially elephants, and to the local community in Kenya",[9] the first damehood to be awarded in Kenya since the country received Independence in 1963.[citation needed]

Film and television[edit]

Sheldrick appeared as herself in the 2011 documentary Born to Be Wild.[10]

She also had an appearance talking about an orphan elephant, which she took care of, which aired on PBS on the show "My Wild Affair".


  1. ^ "About Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick..." [sic], Keepers Profiles, Orphans Project, The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, see [1], accessed 9 October 2014.
  2. ^ "Animals 24-7 website".
  3. ^ Daphne Sheldrick, 2012, "Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story," Farrar, Straus and Giroux, ISBN 9781429942713, see [2], accessed 9 October 2014.
  4. ^ Book Review,"Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story" by Daphne Sheldrick, Publishers Weekly, 26 March 2012, see [3], accessed 9 October 2014.
  5. ^ "Leading elephant conservationist Daphne Sheldrick dies at 83".
  6. ^ HOST, Elehost Web Design Inc. WWW.ELEHOST.COM (877) ELE-. "The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust: A Haven for Elephants and Rhinos". www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org.
  7. ^ Birthday Honours – United Kingdom, The London Gazette, 16 June 1989, Supplement No. 1, Page 17, see https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/51772/supplement/1, see[4] accessed 24 June 2017
  8. ^ Douglas Chadwicks, 2005, "35 Who Made a Difference: Daphne Sheldrick," Smithsonian, 1 November 2005, see [5], accessed 9 October 2014.
  9. ^ New Year Honours – United Kingdom, The London Gazette, 31 December 2005, Supplement No. 1, No. [pg.] 23, see [6] and [7], accessed 9 October 2014.
  10. ^ "Kenya elephant conservationist Daphne Sheldrick dies, aged 83". BBC. 13 April 2018. Retrieved 13 April 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • 60 Minutes/CBS News 2006 report, see [8], accessed 9 October 2014.
  • NBC Nightly News August 2012 report, see [9], accessed 9 October 2014.
  • The Sunday Times March 2012 article, see [10], accessed 9 October 2014.
  • The Telegraph February 2012 article, see [11], accessed 9 October 2014.
  • Dame Sheldrick's October 2013 HuffPost blog on The International March…, see [12], accessed 9 October 2014.
  • National Geographic 2013 interview, see [13], accessed 9 October 2014.
  • Daily Mail June 2014 article, see [14], accessed 9 October 2014.
  • CBC's The Nature of Things September 2014 article, see [15], accessed 9 October 2014.
  • BBC's current description of the Elephant Orphanage, see [16], accessed 9 October 2014.
  • Red Flag Magazine Winter 2014 article, see [17], accessed 9 October 2014.
  • Time magazine online video, undated, see [18], accessed 9 October 2014.

External links[edit]