Just over a year ago, I adopted a foster elephant from Kenya. I found an orphanage online that rescues baby elephants who have lost their parents due to poaching. The babies are nursed, rehabilitated, and eventually reintegrated into the wild. The foundation was started with hopes to grow the quickly dwindling elephant population. Elephants are their main focus, but they’ve also taken in a few giraffes and rhinos. By signing up to adopt, you pay money per year to get monthly updates on how your baby is doing, along with pictures, and updates on the orphanage as well. Each baby has their own individual story of how they were rescued, and you get to watch them grow.
I was inspired to write about this because my little foster baby, Boromoko, turns three this week. He was found wandering around a Kenyan plain all alone. He was observed for several days, but it was clear he wasn’t part of a herd and his health was fading. His mom was nowhere to be found, and it was assumed that she was a poaching victim. After no sign of his mother, or any other elephants to take him in, he was rescued and brought to the orphanage.
Fast forward to now, and he is a blossoming little character. My emails tell me that he’s playful, and gets along great with the other elephants. What’s even more precious? Boromoko frequently engages in pushing games with younger elephants (pushing games refer to when young elephants press their heads together and try to push the other one over.) While he is quite strong for his age, when he plays with younger elephants, Boromoko will purposely lose in order to make the littler elephants feel triumphant. Each elephant has their own personality.
I’ve really grown to love my little elephant, and I look forward to the monthly emails. It makes me feel like I’m making a difference.
But that difference isn’t big enough.
I still see reports daily of poaching, and big game hunting. Elephants are mercilessly killed for their tusks. Rhinos, lions, and giraffes are also killed for sport. How can we sit by and let these majestic and incredible creatures hover towards extinction?
I’ve always loved elephants, but over the past year of seeing the inside of an elephant orphanage, I’ve become a bigger and better advocate. This cause is one that has grown very close to my heart. We have to do something if we want to stop this incredible species from going extinct.
All of that being said, on his 3rd birthday, I have some things I would say to Boromoko if he could hear me.
Hello, little one.
Happy birthday. I just wanted to let you know that I love you, and I’m so proud of how much you’ve grown.
I also wanted to say that I’m sorry we have let you down. I’m sorry that there are members of my species that slaughter you for their own gain. I’m sorry that humans think they can destroy anything they want just because they can. I’m sorry that we take you for granted. I’m sorry that we do not realize how beautiful and noble you are. I’m sorry that we do not have respect for you. I’m sorry that we’ll never know exactly what happened to your mother. I’m sorry that people think you aren’t worth anything more than your ivory. I’m sorry that we don’t acknowledge that your life is important.
I want you to know that your life is important. I also want you to know that even though there are people out there who don’t care at all, there are also people out there who care so much.
I promise I won’t give up on you, and I promise I will never stop fighting for you.
Happy birthday, Boromoko.
Your foster mommy
If you or someone you know might be interested in adopting, check out The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust here! https://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/It’s a wonderful foundation working towards an amazing goal. Hint: Baby elephants make awesome Christmas gifts!