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Little Elephant Meets Big Athlete

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An oldie but goodie... last year this two-week-old orphaned African Elephant named Kinango bonded with retired professional basketball player Yao Ming on the athlete’s visit to Daphne Sheldrick’s Elephant Orphanage in Kenya.

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Photo Credit:  Kristian Schmidt for WildAid

Kinango was one of more than 150 orphaned Elephants fostered at the orphanage since its founding in 1977.  The calves often come to the facility after their parents are killed for the ivory trade.  Elephants are also under intense pressure from nearby human settlements, human conflict, deforestation, and drought. 

Once the calves are ready to live independently, a process that can take years, they are reintegrated with the herds at nearby Tsavo National Park.  Many of the once-orphaned calves have gone on to produce their own healthy offspring. 

Yao Ming's 2012 trip journey through Africa helped raise awareness of the poaching crisis facing Elephants and Rhinos.  Daphne Sheldrick’s Elephant Orphanage is part of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

See more photos of Kinango below the fold.

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