King’s Ely Acremont Nursery children take Mapia the orphan under their wing

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Children and staff at King’s Ely Acremont Nursery have become the proud ‘adopters’ of a baby elephant called Mapia.

Mapia, who is named after the place where he was found in Tsavo, Kenya, had to be rescued by helicopter after he became orphaned in the recent drought. He is now being cared for by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which is a conservation partner of the Tsavo Conservation Group, and is making good progress.

The founders of the Tsavo Conservation Group are Ian and Tanya Saunders, whose two daughters attend King’s Ely Acremont Nursery. Ian and Tanya have ‘adopted’ Mapia on behalf of the Nursery as a gift to the children and staff.

On May 11th, Tanya visited the children to talk to them about Mapia and to share some fascinating facts about elephants with them, including how many bottles of milk a baby elephant needs every day in order to grow big and strong. Tanya also helped to teach the children how important it is to be kind to animals of all shapes and sizes.

Tanya said: “I grew up in the Tsavo National Park in Kenya, with elephants literally on my doorstep. Being surrounded by nature from such an early age has shaped the way I live my life and think about the world. My husband and I founded the Tsavo Conservation Group with the aim of helping to create areas where people and wildlife can co-exist in a mutually beneficial environment, because at the end of the day if the people who live alongside wildlife do not see any value in it, then wildlife has no chance of survival. It was a pleasure to be able to share some of my love for elephants and other animals with the Nursery children.”

Head of Early Years Foundation Stage at King’s Ely Acremont Nursery, Anna Ballanger, said: “The children have been learning about different animals around the world this term, and are thrilled to be a part of helping to look after our own baby elephant. We will be following his progress each month with great interest, and look forward to receiving our monthly updates on how he is doing.”

King’s Ely’s Principal, Sue Freestone, is co-chair of the UK branch of the Tsavo Conservation Group. For more information about the charity, visit: www.tsavocon.org.

To find out more about the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, go to: www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org.