Continued.. Based in the remote North Eastern Province of Kenya it is far from the normal tourist route and usually accessed by air. However, being of the intrepid traveller tribe I decided to drive there, which once off the main road required a local guide. My guide assured me he knew where it was. After several U-turns he eventually pointed to a faint dirt track heading into the bush. The scenery in that region is totally awesome and wild, which added to the experience. The track deteriorated the further we went and to my delight some serious off roading pursued, which made it all the more exciting, but I was convinced that surely this wasn’t the usual route in. On our return journey we found the ‘official’ route, which was still off road and fun but a lot less challenging!

The Sanctuary is awe inspiring. There are several fundamental differences between Reteti and other similar sanctuaries in that not only has it created opportunities for the wider community with respect to improving livelihoods, it has brought communities together, united for wildlife. Wildlife is returning to the area, proving that it can provide a sustainable economy for the people within their community owned land, returning to an age old history of wildlife tolerance and co-existence. A further aspect is that women are a prominent factor in a once male dominated field. And thirdly the objective is to return the orphaned or abandoned elephants to their home range and when possible to their own herds.

I wanted to capture a feeling of how these conservation heroes had not only instilled trust and reassurance in these vulnerable young elephants, who had experienced trauma and stress at such a young age, but a sense of fun and well being and most of all hope.
From the onset of meeting the keepers you immediately get a sense of their passion, understanding and a confident belief in their mission to preserve the nature they are so part of.
For me the image of the smiling guardian and the calf conveys a sense of joy and hope for the future.

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David Cayless