Reteti elephant sanctuary takes in orphaned and abandoned elephant calves with an aim to release them back into the wild herds adjoining the Sanctuary. This is the result of a widely recognised and expanding grassroots movement of community-driven conservation across northern Kenya; a movement that is growing new economies, transforming lives and conserving natural resources.
While elephant poaching elsewhere in Africa continues at unsustainable rates, the proportion of illegally killed elephants in NRT member community conservancies has fallen 53% since 2012. Nevertheless, there are still elephant calves orphaned or abandoned resulting from a variety of instances that include poaching, man made wells, drought, human-wildlife conflict and natural mortality. It is estimated between five and ten elephant calves are rescued in Northern Kenya each year, from a population of an estimated 8,700. The Sanctuary was established in response to demands from the local community, who recognize wildlife as an opportunity to improve livelihoods. The elephant keepers all recruited from within the Conservancy, have perfected the skill of returning lost calves back to their family herds.