This series brings to you the most thought-provoking excerpts from my chats with visionary personalities, as recorded for the Slingshot Living radio show. The conversations reveal valuable wisdom, playful anecdotes and useful advice on how to continuously overstep perceived boundaries for success in your business and your personal life.
Today’s segment features an excerpt from my inspirational chat with Dame Daphne Sheldrick, author, conservationist and one of the world’s foremost expert on elephants — having successfully hand-reared over 130 elephant orphan calves over the last 50 years — the first person ever to achieve this.
Gabor: How have you been able to extend your childhood fascination and love for animals into a life-long passion?
Dame Daphne: I think everyone is born with a genuine love for animals, but it’s also exposure at a very young age. I grew up on a farm in the Highlands of Kenya — I was born here — and I of course absolutely love the cats, the dogs the cows the turkeys the ducks the bunny rabbits everything like that. And we also had wild orphans. I had my first wild orphan when I was three years old. I was given responsibility for that little bushbuck and I loved it absolutely to bits. My parents always told me that wild animals are only on loan — they don’t belong, they belong in the wild — and so you have to learn to say goodbye. Because they are only happy fulfilling what they are designed to do in the wild situation as they are programmed for a certain role on earth. And that’s the hardest part about raising the orphans is actually saying goodbye. But the wonderful thing about raising the elephants is that it’s never a goodbye. When they go down to the rehabilitation stations it’s like sending your children to boarding school — which I had to do of course — and then when they go into the wild herds and each one does that in it’s own time and pace they are always welcomed into the wild herds. And that’s what’s so loving and wonderful about the elephants is that they are greeted. And the most extraordinary thing is that somehow the elephants who are now living in the wild — these are ex-orphans that were raised here, grown now and many have their own wild-born calves — but they all know when new ones are on the way and they wait in the yard at the end of the yard for the new ones to arrive. Sometimes even when the keepers at the other end don’t even know yet they are coming because the mobile signal is so poor there. How do the elephants know that? There’s no scientific explanation for that. It’s just one of those very mysterious, amazing perceptions that they have that we as humans lost long ago.