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The elephant has been on Earth for over 50 million years. It is the largest living land mammal. There are estimated to be about 500,000 left with popluations spread throughout Africa and Asia. To satisfy their massive appetite, elephants keep on the move looking for food and water. This means they often come into contact with a growing human population which can lead to conflict.

The single biggest threat to the elephant is the illegal trade in ivory. In 2012, 35,000 African elephants were killed to fuel demand from the Far East for ivory - the long dentine tusks that elephants use to help them browse for food and care for their young.The trade in ivory has been illegal since 1989 but as demand rises so does poaching. The ivory is carved into ornaments and trinkets, the rest of the elephant is left where it fell or used for bush meat. There are an increasing number of orphaned elephants as a result.

The Elephants LOCATION

View Location from Google Earth

Elephants can be found across Africa and in isolated populations in India. The African elephant is larger with bigger ears. Although there are many domesticated Asian elephants, in the wild it is struggling to survive as its traditional migratory routes are swallowed up by an ever expanding population.

The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation works in Uganda, Zambia and India to help protect the elephant in the wild. Clicking on the highlighted links will take you to more information about the projects we support.

Elephants travel 30km for a drink and a bath. A dust shower helps prevent sunburn!

Elephant Facts

Elephants are some of the most intelligent animals on Earth

There are two sub-species of African elephant: the savannah elephant and the forest elephant. 500 years ago 10 million elephants roamed Africa. In 1979 there were 1.3 million left. Today only approximately 500,000 African elephants survive in the wild.

Females stay together for life with an older female (cow), called a "matriarch", in charge. Teenage males leave the herd and often form bachelor herds before fighting older bulls to gain control of a herd.

The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation founded the first elephant orphanage project in Zambia which rescues, rehabilitates and safely returns these victims of ivory poaching and human conflict back to the wild. When you are 18 you can volunteer to help!

Physical contact is very important to elephants and these gentle giants help their sick and injured. Cows often watch over their dead calves, sometimes covering them with leaves and branches before moving on.

Sit back and watch


Video Updates

Watch ele orphans at the Ele Orphanage Project, supported by DSWF, wallowing and playing in the mud!

How you can help the Elephant

You can help save the elephant by supporting the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation's work either by fundraising as a school or an individual, adopting Chamilandu or entering our annual art and poetry competition.


Photography courtesy of John Robinson, Diane Denham and EOP.

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