Thetford pupils foster orphaned elephants

Pupils at Thetford Grammar School who have fostered four elephants pictured with their form teacher Laura Wingham
Pupils at Thetford Grammar School who have fostered four elephants pictured with their form teacher Laura Wingham
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A group of students have joined the global fight to help save an endangered species – the African elephant.

Pupils at Thetford Grammar School have adopted four baby elephants from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, an organisation in Kenya which reintegrates orphans back into the wild and has hand-raised more than 150 infant elephants.

Touched by the story of Mbegu, a calf who was rescued at about seven weeks old after being left behind when a shooting caused her herd to stampede, the students decided to raise funds to foster her.

But the cake sale they held proved such a success that they were able to foster four orphaned calves.

Laura Wingham, the pupils’ form teacher, said: “They decided to have a cake sale and it was heaving, there were cakes on every surface. Everything went – it was incredible.”

Their interest in elephants came after discussing the ivory trade and the serious threat ivory poaching poses to the survival of the species in class.

They then held assemblies to share what they had learned about the Trust and the plight of some of the elephants it had rescued with the rest of the school.

“I don’t think they realised how endangered elephants are, how serious poaching is, and I don’t think they realised how intelligent elephants are and how much work the keepers do – they even sleep with them,” said Mrs Wingham.

The year 8 pupils have received fostering certificates and photographs for each their orphans and, as well as being able to access daily calendar entries, they will receive monthly summaries and information about new arrivals and rescues.

As well as Mbegu, their fostered elephants include Ndotto who was found confused and alone at just two days old, Galla who was 15 months old when he was orphaned by poachers and Malima who was five months old when she was found in a state of collapse.

To find out more about the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust visit www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org.