Ami Vitale’s film, 'Shaba', supports orphan elephant rehabilitation
Shot by photojournalist Ami Vitale, Shaba is an 11-minute short film about an incredible elephant sanctuary and the amazing work being done there. The film will be available on-demand until 31 August, with all ticket sales going directly to support the elephants and their wonderful keepers. The film is available at shabafilm.org.
The story is about an orphaned elephant named Shaba who arrived traumatized after poachers killed her mother in front of her. It took weeks for the team at Reteti to finally forge a connection with her and Shaba soon became the matriarch of the entire orphaned herd. She became instrumental at the sanctuary, caring for each new orphan that arrived and teaching the keepers how to be better caretakers. This is a story about learning to trust those that we fear. Shaba teaches us about love and our connections to all of life around us.
In the mountains of northern Kenya, a Samburu community is doing something that has never been done before – building a sanctuary for orphaned elephants to rehabilitate them back to the wild. They have created the first indigenous owned and run elephant sanctuary in Africa, and what makes it unique is that they are also employing the first indigenous women elephant keepers in a traditional, patriarchal community. The sanctuary is leading a worldwide movement in community-based conservation.
All the keepers are from the local community and are formally trained in the care, rehabilitation and release of elephant calves. Recruited from within Namunyak Conservancy, they have perfected the skill of returning lost calves back to their family herds. Since September 2016, they have rescued over 35 elephants and returned ten back to the wild. This is the result of a widely recognised and expanding grassroots movement of community-driven conservation across northern Kenya; a movement that is growing new economies, transforming lives, and conserving natural resources.
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