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For the Love of Elephants
Saturday August 25 at 7 pm on CBC-TV
For the Love of Elephants is an intimate portrait of an amazing elephant-human bond that develops at an elephant rehabilitation centre near Nairobi, Kenya. The film takes viewers inside the emotional world of young, orphaned African elephants and their compassionate keepers, Edwin, Mishak, and Abdi. Never far from their charge are the centre’s founder, Dame Daphne Sheldrick, and her daughter Angela, who manages the Sheldrick Trust. Through hard work, love and dedication, this expert team create a unique human-elephant family, and nurture the orphaned elephants back to health.
Shot on location in Kenya, For the Love of Elephants closely observes the process by which an orphaned elephant named Sities survives the first days of recovery after arriving at the Trust. The audience discovers that this adorable three-month old elephant has recently lost her mother to poachers. Alone and fragile, Sities is flown to the nursery. The challenge is to keep the young elephant alive; the keepers know that the emotional trauma alone may be too much for Sities to endure.
The baby elephant makes it through the first crucial hours, but dehydration, disease, and social alienation from the herd are all still sad possibilities for Sities. She needs to find a “step” mother and form new bonds with the other elephants, not an easy thing to do in the complex social world of the herd. Mishak, known as the “elephant whisperer” is crucial to Sities’ integration at the Trust, and plays the role of mother, sibling and teacher whenever the elephant requires it.
The bond between the human and elephants runs deep at the Sheldrick Trust. Caring for elephants is clearly an intense job, requiring compassion and insight into the minds and spirits of these great animals. It is a job that comes with many rewards. For the Love of Elephants reveals that the most powerful reward is helping the young elephants reach adolescence and eventually reintegrate into the Kenyan wild.