Save The Elephants

WorldWomenWork Adventures: Our trip to Morocco and Kenya

WorldWomenWork Adventure Trip to Morocco

In January, we went on an amazing educational trip to Morocco and Kenya. We met in Marrakesh and stayed there for four days. We had a wonderful guide called Mohammed. We spent a couple of days going with him to the most beautiful palaces and museums. We went the Casbah, and had a lovely time walking around and looking at everything, as well as buying some beautiful things to take home. It’s such a fascinating place. We went up to the Atlas mountains for a hike and a beautiful lunch. Every night we had dinner in superb restaurants. Some of us even took a Moroccan cooking class and learned how to make a chicken tagine

WorldWomenWork Adventures Our trip to Morocco and Kenya


Next, we flew to Nairobi and went to the Olerai House. The Olerai House is a farmhouse in a wildlife sanctuary on Lake Naivasha. It’s run by Iain and Oria Douglas-Hamilton of Save the Elephants. They’ve created an amazing nature preserve on their farm. We had lunch with zebras milling about. They also have giraffes, tommy gazelles, gazelles, hippos, buffalo, vervet monkeys, and more. While we were there, we visited and had lunch at Sirocco house, Oria’s parents house. It was a beautiful space, patterned after a west African king’s palace.

WorldWomenWork Adventures Our trip to Morocco and Kenya


From there we went to Elephant Watch, which was created by Oria. We visited the Save the Elephants Research Center and learned about all of their projects. (You can read more about them on our project page, and in our news.) Then we went out with Samburu guides. These guides knew so much. They have been studying about 600 elephants for the past 15 years. They knew each elephant and the different elephant families. So we had the most intimate experience possible.

WorldWomenWork Adventures Our trip to Morocco and Kenya
WorldWomenWork Adventures Our trip to Morocco and Kenya

Next we went to stay at Sarara Camp. We also visited the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary, in the Mathews Mountain Range. The Reteti Elephant Sanctuary takes in orphaned and abandoned elephant calves. Many of these elephants are later released into the wild herds that roam near the sanctuary.

We also went to the Maasai Mara National Reserve and saw everything known to man. We saw cheetahs, lions and so much more. We stayed in a beautiful camp. It was such a magical trip!

WorldWomenWork Adventure Trips are organized every year, as an educational as well as fundraising initiative. A portion of the trip fees go directly to the projects that we support. Read more about these projects on in our News and Projects pages. If you would like to be the first to know about our next trips, sign up for our mailing list.

Save The Elephants and Mama Tembo in Samburu Kenya

photo by Jane Wynyard with Save the Elephants

photo by Jane Wynyard with Save the Elephants

Mapayon of the Mama Tembos Says: "We feel like we are educators and that we can tell people about elephants and wildlife. Before we were scared of elephants, but now we have learned so much about them and we are grateful."

The pride that these Mamas feel protecting elephants from human beings and gigantic infrastructure projects is inspirational. They are a group of 9 working with Save the Elephants helping to save the largest land mammal; the elephant!

They have had tough lives. Imagine raising 7 children after your partner has left you or been killed in a tribal conflict. They patrol walking 10km a day in the scorching African sun.

Mama Tembo Save the Elephants Kenya

Soutine is one of the Samburu orphans studied in the "Orphan Project" We came upon her last winter standing with her 3 week old baby to the side of her family, the Artists, not being completely accepted. This leads to the ability of some young orphan mother's being more able to raise their offspring than others. This river crossing happened after we left and shows Soutine's incredible tenacity in this scary situation.

Elephant Orphan Project with Save the Elephants

Veterinarians and Orphan Project researchers have sedated a Samburu elephant while attaching a new radio collar.

Veterinarians and Orphan Project researchers have sedated a Samburu elephant while attaching a new radio collar.

An estimated 100 African elephants are killed by poachers every day for their ivory and body parts. The victims of poaching reaches far beyond the life that has been taken. The impact of an elephant’s death extends to the family, the herd, and the ecosystem. The Elephant Orphan Project through Save the Elephants in Samburu, Kenya has been monitoring elephants in the Samburu National Reserve for over 15 years. Their research helps us understand the behavior, family ties, and interactions of orphans who have lost their matriarchs to poaching.

How do herds learn important survival skills without a leader? How do their migration patterns change? How does trauma affect behaviors and relationships among the remaining pack? These are the types of questions the Orphan Project is hoping to answer.

Over the course of 2014-15, the Orphan Project has developed a greater insight into the workings of elephant families, and the changes that can occur due to physical and psychological stress. During a recent exchange, Shifra Goldenberg, a PhD Candidate working under George Wittemyer, chair of STE’s scientific board, provided us with this update:

It has been over two years since the first orphaned elephants were radio collared. Their movements have been fascinating. Many seem to be ranging within much smaller subsets of their mothers’ previous ranges, some have completely shifted their ranges. These shifts seem to be connected to social strategies after poaching, associating with new groups, picking up the movement patterns of those groups. In some cases, the ranges are so different from those of their mothers that you would never guess they were from their original families. The collar data are revealing just how flexible these elephants are. Looking at their movement patterns together with their relationships with other families and information on survival and reproduction will give us a better idea of the lasting effects of poaching.

WorldWomenWork has spent the past few years and over $300,000 supporting the Elephant Orphan Project by providing all of the elephant radio collars, administrative support, operations, and research salaries. This year in 2018, we hope to give $400,000. This is the most we have ever given to one organization. With your contributions, we can help The Orphan Project continue their work. Even the smallest contribution makes a difference.

The Orphan Project runs entirely on donations like yours. Next year, we would like to provide the funds for the following operational costs:
10 Radio Collars for Corridor Movement ($2500 each)
10 Collaring operation costs (vet fees, meds, ect. – $1000 per operation)
10 Downloading and database management ($800 per collar)
Field work budget (vehicle repair and fuel) ($15,000/year)
Field researcher support (cost of living $8000/year)
International Travel (2 @ $2500)
University support for graduate student & publishing in peer-reviewed journals ($2000 per paper)


This picture depicts two orphan sisters and their children crossing the Ewaso Nyiro in the dry season. They are from the American Indians family. Their mother, Aztec, died in 2009, likely from drought. In front, sniffing out for what may lie ahead, is Cree. Cree is 16 years old, but was only 10 when her mother died. Following Cree is Zuni. Zuni is 12 years old, but was only 6 when her mother died. Although the full ramifications of being orphaned are not yet understood, it is inspiring that Cree and Zuni were able to recover enough to bear offspring. Cree has a three year old calf, bringing up the rear in the photo. This calf is tuskless – a lucky occurrence for an elephant in today’s world. Zuni had her first calf in March, who is following her.

2017 Highlights: The Orphan Project with Save the Elephants and more

2017 has been an amazing year for WorldWomenWork.

These are just a few of the highlights:
We have completed our $400,000 commitment to "The Orphan Project" with Save The Elephants. An orphan sanctuary for Grevy's Zebra has been built at the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary in Northern Kenya and a workshop for the Grevy's Zebra Nkirreten (sanitary pad) Project has been built. A beautiful safari bus has been acquired and outfitted for conservation expeditions for Ewaso Lions. And two great WorldWomenWork adventure trips, Walking with Elephants in Myanmar and Walking in Zambia and Botswana have changed lives!

2017 with WorldWomenWork thanks to your efforts.

The brutality of humanity is often too much to bare, but there are still true inspirations happening all around us.

Munteli and her new companion Nanyori sit in her Suzuki below. The Mama Simba are powerful women who by learning to read and write are taking on the world for their lions!
You, our donors, are a powerful force because you make it all happen.


With Thanks and Gratitude, Singer

Ewaso Lions

Save The Elephants Update 2017

Africa is rapidly changing. Elephants are increasingly threatened by a tidal wave of development and encroachment. As economies expand, wide open areas of unfenced elephant ranges contract. The Kenyan elephant range presents a stark example. A century of growing human population and oerstocking of livestock has severely degraded most pastures. When hit by seasonal drought, herders desperate for grazing invade conservation areas including Samburu. once grass is gone the herders may move on, but little is left for wildlife.
— Iain Douglas-Hamilton, founder of Save The Elephants

WWW has pledged $100,000 for STE Northern Tracking Project 2018. In order to protect elephants in the face of massive infrastucture developement projects they are being radio collared. Wearing tracking collars elephants are unveiling key wildlife habitats and the corridors that link them which in turn can inform large scale developement. The Kenyan government has commenced developement plans to transform the town of Isiolo - located a mere 34km from the Buffalo Springs Reserve - into a major resort city. A large dam and irrigation scheme are part of that growth. More worrying - a road, railway and oil pipeline network - is also planned to run from South Sudan and Ethiopia through Isiolo to the costal district of Lamu. This is going to be huge with Samburu National Reserve, Save the Elephants Reseach Center and Elephant Watch Camp in the crossfire. STE has been at the forefront of mapping all existing wildlife corridors to guide the government in planning for a future with wildlife.

The Samburu Orphan Project has been a 4 year research project conducted by Shifra Goldenberg and George Wittemyer at Colorado State to which WorldWomenWork has donated $400,000. The newest paper documenting the social pattern of orphans is out: "Orphaned Female Elephant Social Bonds Reflect Lack of Access to Mature Adults." This study is critical to understanding the magnitude of what these elephants are experiencing in a profoundly altered social structure. How are they going to cope and recover? The elephants of Samburu are one of the best studied populations in the world and they can provide a powerful window into what this continent wide poaching is doing to elephant society.

A Farewell to Changila


By Oria Douglas-Hamilton

Flying with the vultures, I salute you Changila, to say farewell. You will now return to the earth where you and I came from a long long time ago. Piece by piece, vultures will take you away and bury you, leaving only white bones by the river to mark your grave, where you stood that last moment in your life. We did not know you well, but you were named Changila, “Fighter.”

Changila destroyed by poachers, January 3, 2013. Photo courtesy of Chris Leadismo, Save the Elephants.

Changila destroyed by poachers, January 3, 2013. Photo courtesy of Chris Leadismo, Save the Elephants.

You came from the north in December, as you always do. Now at 30, having survived droughts, war, and floods, you stood tall and strong, heading south in full musth over well trodden paths, leaving a scent trail behind, your trunk sweeping the ground as you searched for fertile females to mate with. The land was lush and green after the rains. Butterflies fluttered from flower to flower, and step by step, your great big feet crushed the long grass stems. Like all warriors, you came to fight, to do what you were known for. Did you leave us an heir in your kingdom?

The new year had just begun. We’d seen you here and there for a few days, and then you disappeared, walking back west. Oh yes, people saw you—you were so determined; no one stood in your way. You drank and washed and crossed the river. Alone, you stood on warm earth pondering your next move while the sun’s rays lit the sky red. The day was ending.

Gunfire broke through the silence of dusk, and you fell.

I apologize for man, my species. You did not deserve this.

Changila destroyed by poachers, January 3, 2013. Photo courtesy of Chris Leadismo, Save the Elephants.

As I flew over you, I scanned the eroded gullies on the hillside, wondering where the men had been sitting, watching, waiting for you to turn and face them, guns at the ready. They hit you not once but two, three, times, and you fell. I saw your leg covered in dark red blood. Your eyes were open. Did you see them as you were dying, coming toward you with their axes? And then, without a moment to waste, demented, they hacked into your skull, just below your open eye, your blood spattering those hands that would steal the prize you carried: two beautiful tusks, white like your bones will be, but stained with blood.

I will never forget your face, so savagely butchered. Rage fills my heavy heart, Changila.

Where will your tusks go? They will leave Africa, hidden in dirty sacks, in boxes, trucks, and stores, changing hands from man to man. No one will know who you were, where you lived. You will be like thousands of others, unknown, abused, and used. One day, a piece of you will be cut into myriad items.

I’m sorry, Changila. May your name live forever—we will miss you.

Save The Elephants: The Elephant Orphan Project Update

Save the Elephants Elephant Orphan Project

What happens to the herd when all the big tuskers are gone?
Save The Elephants is going to find out.

save the elephants elephant orphan project
save the elephants elephant orphan project

We are in a crisis. Almost all of the big tuskers are gone from surges in poaching across Africa. The price of ivory has fueled the widespread killing of elephants. There are now only approximately 30 of the great tuskers left. 

Now, these animals are dealing with a new problem. Without the matriarchs to lead the heard, the orphaned elephants do not know where to go. These herds are now wandering into new areas at risk of encountering dangerous habitats. The Orphan Project by Save the Elephants helps to understand the orphaned elephant's migratory patterns as they expand their ranges into uncharted territory. Over the past three years, WorldWomenWork has donated over $300,000 to this project for radio collars, vehicles, and staffing.

This monitoring will be increasingly important for ensuring the saftey of the herds during the Kenyan government's Vision 2030 development plan that will build road, rail and pipline links through both East-West and North-South in the Lamu Port, South Sudan, and Ethiopian Transport Corridor (LAPSSET). The Orphan Project's monitoring system will ensure that any development is created with access for migrating wildlife. 

We anticipate to give another $100,000 in 2017 for additional tracking collar deployments, collar replacements, aerial patrol, monitoring time, and GIS (Geographic Information System) analysis of movements. This data will be crutial to ensuring the future of these elephant herds across the African savannahs. 

WorldWomenWork has been fortunate to fund the work of Shifra Goldenberg and Dr. George Wittemyer through Save the Elephants. They have been researching the orphan's new migratory patterns and social behaviors in the Samburu National Reserve. Their work has been highlighted recently in the New York Times and National Geographic

In this video by National Geographic, Shifra explains more about social bonds between elephants and their behavior when finding an elephant who has died. 

This program is completely funded by generous donors like you. We are almost at the end of our 2016 fund drive, and need your support now more than ever.