The Reteti Elephant Sanctuary

posted 7th August 2019 by Shortie Designs in Work in progress

The conservation and rehabilitation of African wildlife is core to what we call ‘the Encompass Africa Way’. We believe safaris should immerse you in the wilderness without impacting it at all.

Yet despite the efforts of conservation programs throughout Africa, not all animals are able to avoid interference by the human presence. Poaching remains rife in many regions of Sub-Saharan Africa, including Northern Kenya, where the inspiring Reteti Elephant Sanctuary is doing its part in the protection of Kenya’s vulnerable elephants.

Officially opened in August 2016, Reteti Elephant Sanctuary is the first community owned elephant orphanage in Africa. Focused on the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of abandoned and orphaned elephant calves, Reteti plays a vital role in maintaining Kenya’s elephant population. Elephants rescued by Reteti are tended to by local keepers from the Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy with the aim of releasing them back into the wild herds surrounding the Sanctuary. The Sanctuary also focuses heavily on community awareness and education; working to reduce poaching and lessen the overall effects of human presence on all of Kenya’s elephants.

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Reteti elephant sanctuary

“After an exhilarating, heart-stopping, once-in a life time Black Rhino tracking session at sunrise, we made our way back to Saruni Rhino camp for breakfast by the river bed and a short rest before Sammy, our wonderful Samburu guide, then packed us in the 4WD and started our journey to the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary.

Although only 40 kilometres away, it took us nearly 2 hours to reach our destination. We drove through the landscape of the Sera Community Conservancy and into the Namunyak Wildlife Conservation area in Samburu County.

Dry, semi-arid orange dirt and stones licked the truck as we bounced our way towards the looming Mathews Range. Dik Dik’s danced and pranced past us, as did wild hare and an abundance of birds. We passed many a young herdsman, walking their cattle to the next watering hole, albeit the ongoing drought in the region.

We arrived at Reteti a little after the baby elephants had eaten their lunch and were greeted by four bundles of joy who happily ran towards us to munch on their extra snack of the afternoon- tree branches and leaves.

Reteti was established by the local community, but was only licensed as an elephant orphanage in 2016. The orphaned or abandoned elephants, all from the region, are cared for by the local Samburu keepers; in turn the Sanctuary provides employment and a greater appreciation and willingness by locals to live alongside the elephants and care for them. Conservation efforts at their best!

We were blown away to also spent time with Loijipu, a baby black rhino, a mere 2 months old, who was born in Sera Conservancy which we had visited at sunrise. Abandoned by his mother, Lujipto was too cute for words. He was shy, sucking on his keepers fingers, then curious, nudging our knees as we crouched by his side, then pretended to be a dog, and lay down in the dirt for an afternoon nap. We fell in love in a flash! He was so adorable.

So if you’re in the region, take the time to visit this wonderful orphanage. It’s quite likely you’ll be the only one there, enjoying the elephants and learning about the day-to-day activities of the very committed staff.”

– C. Der Vartanian

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