A more affordable, healthier option than traditional baby formulas, the solution could also help start a business that helps the local community as well.
Founded in 2016, The Reteti Elephant Sanctuary is located in Samburu County in the semi-arid scrublands of northern Kenya.
The sanctuary helps rescue orphaned or abandoned elephant calves and care for them until they are old enough to live in the wild.
Previously, the facility used high-cost powdered baby milk to feed calves, but its veterinarian adviser says goat-milk formula may be a better alternative.
“This is an animal that has just lost its mother; it has been separated from its family,” he says. “So, they’re more likely to have a lot of mental and emotional trials that can further impair their good health.”
“Goat milk is a wonderful source of healthy nutrition for small (elephant) calves.”
The switch will save the sanctuary the cost of feeding animals every day. However, a study has not yet been done to consider all costs.
“Goats milk is very rich in protein, and not just protein, it’s extremely digestible protein, unlike cow’s milk,” Dr. Chege explains.
The move will also benefit local farmers.
Liwana Lenakukunyia is just one goat farmer, who sells her goat’s milk to the sanctuary, and she is thrilled about the new revenue.
‘At least this way, we have our own cash we can use to make the kind of money you need to support your family,’ she explains.
Many of the farmers who are benefiting from the new scheme are women.