It doesn’t take much to realize we are smitten with the elephants who call The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) home. But as much as we’re charmed by every single one, each orphan is a stark reminder of a grave reality.
This morning DSWT launched a 3-minute film to tell this story. Artist Hugo Guinness’s (you may recognize his signature sketches from the clothing line he created for J.Crew to support the elephants) reveals in simple pen-to-paper sketches illustrate what these big-brained, self-aware and emotional creatures are dealing with under their signature DSWT blankets. Here’s why they can’t fall asleep at night:
During our visit to the Trust this summer we were reminded that it’s not the special milk recipe these young orphans need to survive. More often than not they are passing away from broken hearts. Many are emotionally empty. This is why their “Elephant Keepers” (stand-in mothers for their real ones) are critical; they are not only giving them a bottle to survive, but letting them know there is someone there. They are not alone.
As we head into November, a month focused on family and togetherness, this need hits home. Everyone watching this: feel hopeful knowing that although elephant families are stripped apart, and though the memory will never disappear, the DSWT nursery is dedicated to providing love and hope for the elephants, and is giving people like us ways to help.
Go. Travel. Get out there and explore. Filling empty safari lodges proves to the local people these sensational creatures roaming their backyards are worth more alive than reduced to ivory trinkets. African nations are realizing that elephants are one of their most valuable natural resources and need to be fiercely protected. Wildlife tourism makes up 20 to 40% of international tourism, but once it’s gone, it’s irrecoverable. As elephant populations plummet, so do the livelihoods of the local people. We can reverse this by just going to see these creatures in their wild home.
The animation, produced by talented illustrators Allegra Pilkington and Luisa Crosbie with an original music score by Joe Trapanese, was inspired from Hugo’s original artwork featured on the J. Crew Garments for Good clothing line, which raised vital funds for the DSWT. “I will always remember you” took five painstaking months to produce and has been created entirely through pen-to-paper illustrations, making it completely unique with fine details.