david sheldrick wildlife trust

Visiting Creatures in Need with Charlie Hamilton James

To see more of Charlie’s photography from around the world, follow @chamiltonjames on Instagram.

After spending several months during the course of a year in Africa shooting a story on wildlife poisoning, National Geographic photographer Charlie Hamilton James (@chamiltonjames) enjoyed his final day on assignment photographing (and cuddling) orphaned elephants. “On one level, it’s lovely, and on another level, it’s very sad. There’s a bit of a weird sort of emotional shift going on at the same time,” explains Charlie, who traveled to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (@dswt) in Kenya to see Roi, a young elephant who lost his mother to a poison dart. “Every single one of those elephants has seen some horrific trauma in its life.” Charlie offers advice to those who want to get involved on #WorldWildlifeDay but may not be traveling to Africa anytime soon: “The thing we can do is think locally,” he says. “Consider the animals on your own doorstep, and fight to protect them.”

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20 orphaned African elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (@dswt) just outside Nairobi, Kenya

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Tragic news for Africa’s most famous TV star lions - Marsh pride poisoned

Two of the lions died after eating a poisoned cow carcass, while one more is missing and at least five are being treated by vets.

THESE lions stole the heart of animal lovers worldwide when the BBC filmed the hugely popular  BBC TV series Big Cat Diary in Marsh Pride territory from 1996 to 2008.

Now, tragedy has struck the famous pride. Eight members of the pride of lions have been poisoned in Kenya’s Masai Mara reserve. Two lions died after eating a poisoned cow carcass on Saturday night. 

One more is missing and at least five are being treated by vets, a conservation group and a BBC wildlife crew at the scene said. “I am sick to the heart to hear of the poisoning of the Marsh Pride lions, and horrified to think of the pain they suffered as they died,” said Saba Douglas-Hamilton, a Kenyan conservationist and television presenter who worked on Big Cat Diary. 

Jonathan Scott, a zoologist and one of the show’s original presenters who has been following the Marsh Pride for nearly 40 years, lamented the poisoning as the “end of an era”. 

Among the dead lions was 17-year old female Bibi, who had become something of a celebrity during the TV series’ long and hugely popular run from 1996-2008.

The BBC crew said Bibi was found “lying on her side, foaming at the mouth, fitting and panting” before she died.

Conservationists first noticed something was wrong on Sunday morning when some of the lions, “were acting strangely collapsing and suffering from spasms,” according to a statement from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust which funds a mobile veterinary unit in the reserve.

Local cattle-herders who frequently bring their animals into the Masai Mara National Reserve to graze are suspected of the poisoning. “Tens of thousands of cattle encroach into the reserve every night when visitors are safely out of sight,” said Scott. 

The grazing cattle are hunted by lions, bringing the herders into conflict with the cats. “There is nothing shocking anymore as to what is happening in the Masai Mara,” he added, blaming years of “appalling management” by local authorities. 

In a statement Paula Kahumbu, chief executive of conservation group Wildlife Direct, condemned the poisoners as, “stupid, sick, cruel, and short-sighted people.” 

Three men were due to be charged with poisoning the lions, according to the Kenya Wildlife Service, and could face a maximum 20 million shilling ($196,000) fine or life imprisonment if found guilty. “May they rot in jail,” Kahumbu said.

https://twitter.com/MacEwenMark/status/673748990500937728/photo/1

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If you are itching to go on an African Safari why don’t you join our very own #wildographer & photosafari host @dlberry_capture_africa_tours in Kenya to see the elephants you have or about to foster from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Say YES! to the Journey of a Lifetime👣 ✈️ 🐘 📸 #safari #wanderlust #shotsofafrica #dswt #dswtfosterparents #elephants #kenya #animalsofinstagram #animallovers #regrann #travelwithme #davidsheldrickwildlifetrust #saynotoivory #wildlife #Repost #videooftheday @dswtfosterparents @tiffieldtwins @dswt

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Happy World Elephant Day!

Every day should be World Elephant Day. These beautiful beings are being hunted and poached out of existence. Do you want a world where there are no elephants? Please foster orphan elephants, volunteer with elephant sanctuaries, don’t ride elephants, don’t visit zoos who steal these intelligent, gentle beings from their wild life and imprison them for life for 30 seconds of human gawking, and educate everyone you know about the plight of elephants. 

After all, what kind of a world would this be…without elephants?

Say NO to ivory, to elephant rides, to zoos.

We’re so lucky to have these gorgeous beings share this planet with us!