Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick has played a crucial part in organizations of endangered species. For over 63 years she created a haven for endangered and orphaned animals. She was accompanied by her husband for the first 23 years, but after he passed she did something incredible. She founded her own organization in memory of him, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. By learning how to care for orphaned elephants, Daphne was “the first person in the world to successfully raise newborn elephants”(CNN). Having been defeated by breast cancer this past April, today she is and will continue to be remembered for many years as “Mama Elephant”(CNN). Without her contributions, the elephant population wouldn’t be close to what it is today. Every elephant rehabilitation center around the world has been influenced by her and it’s because of this that future generations have a chance at seeing these majestic animals.
During her rise to eminence, Daphne overcame a few challenges. Interestingly enough, many of these challenges weren’t necessarily work-related. Other than the challenge of being a woman, the biggest challenge that I believe she faced was her husband’s passing. Immediately after her husband died, Dame Daphne Sheldrick stopped fostering elephants. She was heartbroken and unsure of how she could continue in the late 1970’s as a single, white woman in Africa. She nearly gave up on what she was born to do. She always wanted to help those around her and make a real difference in the world and her fear that the elephants would suffer because of humanities ignorance drove her to persevere. I also believe she found one last love after David, the elephants.
Daphne Sheldrick deserves much more recognition than she has received. I believe people should know why the existence of elephants has been stretched and why their children have a chance to see elephants in the wild. Researching and teaching others about this wonderful woman would be an honour. She’s an inspiration to everyone that if you work hard you can achieve something amazing.
There are many organizations that work to help endangered species. Some may question my choice to focus on this one in particular. The reason I decided to focus on Daphne Sheldrick is that although she is eminent, she is seemingly unknown in the class. This project will be much more engaging if the notable I’m researching isn’t well known and I’m able to introduce my peers to her and her legacy. With this criteria, there are still many others I could’ve chosen. The defining thing about her is not only that she is immensely respected in her field, but it is also that I feel a strong connection with her.
I was first introduced to the foundation when I was seven years old. In the fourth grade, I did a project on elephants and came across the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. I was so intrigued that I ended up “adopting” an elephant, Kamok, rescued by the foundation on the day she was born. I’ve kept myself updated with the David Sheldrick Wildlife Foundation ever since through Kamok’s monthly ‘Keeper’s blogs’. With Daphne’s death in April this year, I believed this would be my way of paying respect.
I’m drawn to Daphne because of her compassion, intellect, and overall moral compass. She knew what she wanted and how she could reach it. She pushed for her goals and continued to strive for change. I am also intrigued by her love for animals. As she founded the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, she cared greatly for the treatment of animals which I find a truly respectable quality.
Although we are in no way the same person, there are a few similarities between Daphne and me. The first would be that we both have a passion for caring for others. We take the feelings and circumstances of others and see if we can improve them. We were both brought up in a family that valued academics. Daphne receiving a spot on her honour roll in high school as well as a scholarship for university. Although she was a kind-hearted woman, she put her goals before others to succeed which is something I could benefit from.
As a TALONS learner, I have many goals but I believe there is one which Daphne seemed to achieve in her lifetime as well. Being thoughtful and compassionate about everyone and everything around her. My goal in TALONS is to leave a positive impact on my peers and I believe that Dr. Sheldrick did just that. She left a positive impact.
As Caucasian, heterosexual, educated females, Daphne and I don’t have very many barriers that we need to overcome other than simply being a woman. In my speech, I will address these difficulties by relating them to myself. I will also investigate the similarities and differences of these challenges between current times and when they affected her. Furthermore, in my speech, I’ll explain how these challenges changed and motivated her during her lifetime and why without these challenges, she may not have been the same eminent person as she was.
“All life has just one home, the earth, and we as the dominant species must take care of it”
~ Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick
Check out the DSWT at https://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/
My next goal for this project is to contact the foundation and hopefully conduct an interview with one of Daphne’s daughters, Angela or Jill. I believe that this would be the best way for me to fully understand her and her impact on the world through the eyes of those who knew her
Works cited (MLA):
Laffrey, Anna. “’Mama Elephant’: How Daphne Sheldrick Changed the Fate of Elephants Worldwide.” CNN, Cable News Network, 15 Aug. 2018, http://www.cnn.com/2018/08/15/africa/kenya-daphne-sheldrick-wildlife-conservation/index.html.
“Daphne Sheldrick.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 4 Sept. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daphne_Sheldrick.
Elehost Web Design Inc. “The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust: A Haven for Elephants and Rhinos.” The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust: A Haven for Elephants and Rhinos, http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/.
Manby, Christine. “How One Woman Became the Kenyan Elephant’s Best Friend.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 1 May 2018, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/daphne-sheldrick-elephant-kenya-conservation-help-a8313881.html.