Orphaned Elephants Find New Family

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NBC Nightly News
Brian Williams/Chelsea Clinton
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Video News Report
NBCUniversal Media, LLC.
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Conservationist Daphne Sheldrick set up the world's only elephant orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya, 30 years ago. It's a labor of love for Sheldrick, along with the elephant keepers watching over the big babies around the clock.



"Orphaned Elephants Find New Family." Chelsea Clinton, correspondent. NBC Nightly News. NBCUniversal Media. 16 Aug. 2012. NBC Learn. Web. 12 August 2017.


Clinton, C. (Reporter), & Williams, B. (Anchor). (2012, August 16). Orphaned Elephants Find New Family. [Television series episode]. NBC Nightly News. Retrieved from https://archives.nbclearn.com/portal/site/k-12/browse/?cuecard=60336


"Orphaned Elephants Find New Family" NBC Nightly News, New York, NY: NBC Universal, 08/16/2012. Accessed Sat Aug 12 2017 from NBC Learn: https://archives.nbclearn.com/portal/site/k-12/browse/?cuecard=60336


Orphaned Elephants Find New Family 


Time now for tonight’s Making a Difference report continuing last night’s story on the efforts to save African elephants being illegally hunted to feed a growing ivory trade in Asia. NBC’s Chelsea Clinton continues now her reporting on those Making a Difference, rescuing some young and innocent orphans.


These toddlers are just like kids everywhere. They’re curious about the world around them, they love fooling around in the bath, rough-housing with a buddy, and fall asleep before the lights go out. But above all else, these elephant babies crave a mother’s nurturing. Like nine-hundred-pound Bomani, left motherless by ivory poachers, he and twenty-one other young elephants have been given a temporary home by conservationist Daphne Sheldrick.

DAPHNE SHELDRICK: Raising an elephant, you have to replace the-- the elephant family with a human family.

CHELSEA CLINTON: Thirty years ago, she set up the world’s only elephant orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya. And that human family--the keepers--watch over their wards around the clock.

DAPHNE SHELDRICK: You’ll learn to love these keepers and you’ll recognize them for life.

CHELSEA CLINTON: These orphans have lost their natural herds so the keepers teach them to socialize, help them teeth, and sleep alongside them all night long. Just like with human babies, the day revolves around meal times, when super-sized meal-- every three hours, about twenty-five quarts of milk a day per baby. And sometimes--

MAN: Finish. Finish.

CHELSEA CLINTON: --even that’s not enough.

MAN: Come on.

CHELSEA CLINTON: Daphne discovered that hanging blankets comfort the lonely babies.

DAPHNE SHELDRICK: The trunk has to feel comfortable like it’s against the body of the mother, feels a bit like it. And it’s got to be a special blanket too. Not any blanket. They’ll get fussy about the blanket, fussy about the bottle, fussy about the keeper. And then when they get big like this, they learn how to hold the bottle themselves and then they’ll down it any which way.

CHELSEA CLINTON: Just as important is forging bonds. Teaching the animals to trust again takes time.

DAPHNE SHELDRICK: They’ve seen the most terrible things. They’ve probably seen their-- their mother slaughtered, maybe their whole herd slaughtered. We just have to talk to them gently, nurture them, get them to love you, and then-- then all that disappears.

CHELSEA CLINTON: No matter how young, elephants never forget all they’ve been through. Daphne Sheldrick has spent a lifetime giving her orphans something better to remember.

DAPHNE SHELDRICK: I often think the elephants have been put on earth to try and teach us humans a bit about caring, a bit about empathy, a bit about gentleness.

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Chelsea Clinton is here with us in the studio. You were saying off camera earlier other folks in this same line of work trying to save them are using her model.

CHELSEA CLINTON: Absolutely. She developed the first formula that we saw the elephants drinking so much of enthusiastically. She developed the understanding that putting orphan elephants next to a blanket reminded them of their mother’s warmth. And that’s now being used from Sri Lanka to next door in Uganda, around the world.

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Well, I envy you of the trip and being able to report the story. Thank you--

CHELSEA CLINTON: Thank you, Brian.

BRIAN WILLIAMS: --as always for being here with us.