Monday, 28 July 2008

Making a difference with Beads

The more observant of my website visitors will note that I am now donating £1 for each individual item sold on my website to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Firstly, I want to pre-empt the inevitable question of whether I have increased my prices to account for this. The answer is "no, I haven't". The DSWT is a very worthwhile charity, and I wanted to find a way of using my passion for glass to benefit its work. Until the time when beads become an accepted currency once again, this is the easiest way for me to do that!

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust was established in 1977. It is dedicated to the protection and conservation of wildlife and habitats. If you have ever watched the BBC's "Elephant Diaries" you'll know about the outstanding work they do in rescuing orphan elephants. Many of these have become orphans through the illegal trade in ivory, and The DSWT operates several de-snaring teams that work very successfully, along with the Kenya Wildlife Service, to pursue illegal activities, thus making a safer environment for wildlife.

The orphans are taken to the Nursery in Nairobi, where the keepers care for them. They soon begin to bond with their new siblings and the most wonderful relationships are formed. Once they graduate from the nursery they transfer to either Voi or Ithumba, within the Tsavo National Park, and here they stay until they are ready to be reintegrated into the Park to live alongside the wild elephant community.

I have fostered two orphans. A little girl, called Makena, and a little boy called Shimba. I receive regular updates on how they're getting along and I take particular pleasure in reading when they've been up to some mischief! Makena is three years old and has recently graduated from the nursery and is now at Ithumba where she was joyously reunited with some of her elder foster siblings. Shimba is just two years old, and still finding his feet in the nursery.

It costs just £3 a month to foster an orphan elephant or rhino. If you would like to find out more about the DSWT, or how you can foster an orphan too, visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust's website.

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