Happy World Elephant Day! We are celebrating with a little giveaway on our Instagram account (@louisemulgrew) so head over there to be in for the chance to win one of the original elephant illustrations below.
Second only to my own feline mischief-makers, elephants to me are the most wonderful animals in the world. I’ve been out to Africa twice now, and both times I have had the most extraordinary encounters with elephants. The first time, about eight years ago, I visited the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s elephant orphanage in Nairobi National Park, where they rescue and rehabilitate orphaned infant elephants… it was an absolute onslaught of adorable, but also devastating to learn about the trauma those babies had been through and the grief they’ll carry with them, like humans do, for the rest of their lives.
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust was founded in 1977 by Dr Dame Daphne Sheldrick, in memory of her late husband, David Sheldrick, famous naturalist and founding warden of Tsavo East National Park. In that time, the Trust has successfully hand-raised 244 orphan elephants, with more than 150 of these now living wild and free in Kenya. This achievement cannot be overstated and the impact their work will have on many generations of elephants to come is truly awe-inspiring! 30 wild babies (probably more) have already been born to orphans that were rescued and hand-reared by the SWT before being reintegrated back to the wild.
My visit to the SWT was a poignant time for me in my direction as an illustrator, as it inspired me to start painting animals and I’m so happy now, to have been chosen as a corporate partner of the SWT. To learn more, visit our GIVING page.
I have painted so many elephants in the years since visiting, and even wrote and illustrated a picture book about an orphan elephant called Tibbo in my final year at university. I’ve included a few of my favourite elephant card and illustrations below.
If you would like to learn more about the life-saving work of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, you can visit their instagram @SheldrickTrust or their website.