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Queen Camilla bottle-feeds orphaned baby elephants at Kenya sanctuary

Queen Camilla bottle-feeds baby elephant
Tracy Schaverien
Features Contributor
2 November 2023
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The Queen bottle fed baby elephants as she and the King rounded off the second day of their Kenyan tour with a visit to an elephant orphanage. 

"They are so lovely. This is fantastic," Camilla said, after feeding formula milk to a year-old calf called Mzinga. "They look very content, very happy."

The royal couple were at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi, which rescues young calves who have lost their mothers before rehabilitating them and releasing them back into the wild. Since 1977 they have raised 316 orphan elephants and 17 rhinos.

Pointing to the spot where some of the more restless young elephants were being taken, the Queen joked: "Is that the naughty corner?"

Watch the sweet moment in the clip below...

WATCH: Queen Camilla bottle-feeds orphaned baby elephant

Head keeper Edwin Lusichi told her: "They really truly never forget. Even after they've graduated to the wild and will still remember you. They often form a herd with other elephants we have released in to the wild. They like to be very close when they are small. As orphans we sometimes snuggle up closely with them to help them sleep."

Meanwhile the King petted a baby rhino called Raha – which means joy in Swahili – who had been nursed back to health after lifesaving abdominal surgery.

Afterwards, the couple were taken to the park's ivory burning site, a historic landmark where 12 tonnes of ivory was destroyed in 1989 to demonstrate Kenya's zero tolerance to the ivory trade.

Their Majesties had begun the day at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) cemetery, where they met World War Two veteran Corporal Samwel Nthigai Mburia, - who at 117 years old is possibly the oldest person in the world. 

King Charles and Queen Camilla pet a baby rhino© Getty
The couple petted a baby rhino
Queen Camilla bottle feeds elephant in Nairobi© Getty
Queen Camilla was in her element

Samwel, who served with the Royal Engineers from 1939 to 1945, was among four veterans being re-presented with their lost war medals – he disposed of his because he feared reprisals from Mau Mau nationalist rebels for his role serving in the British armed forces.

 "I really am so pleased, if I may say so, to give you these after all these years," the King said, as he presented Samwel with his medals, including the Burma Star. "I hope they’re all there. You are amazing – does great age run in the family? You must have been having wild locusts and honey all these years, well done."

King Charles meets veteran Samwel Nthigai Mburia© Getty
King Charles meets veteran Samwel Nthigai Mburia

From here, the King headed to the United Nations headquarters while Camilla visited a donkey sanctuary run by the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care for Animals (KSPCA) in partnership with the equine charity Brooke East Africa, of which she is president.  

Here, she indulged in some early Christmas shopping, snapping up jewellery, a blanket and a sisal basket - only to find she had run out of Kenyan shillings, prompting an aide to take stallholders’ details to pay them later.

 Shininah Dajom, whose cashew nut butter had taken Camilla's fancy, said: "What that means is that the money is in the bank, not in the hand. Her Majesty’s credit is very good!"

Queen Camilla meets Masai women© Getty
Queen received a red shawl from Masai women

Camilla was also introduced to a rescue dog nicknamed Her Royal Highness, an ex-champion racehorse called Pardon Me Nicely and a donkey called Olekisasi, before being draped in a ceremonial red cloak to dance with a group of Masai women. 

Over at the UN crowds of staff, who had been allowed to bring their children and partners to work that day, cheered with excitement as the King walked into the building.

He was there to meet members of the Prince’s Foundation and business leaders involved with the Sustainable Markets Initiative he launched in 2020, with a goal of building more sustainable economies. 

King Charles starts race with Eliud Kipchoge© Getty
King Charles also started the 15km Run for Nature with Kenyan marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge

In a speech to delegates, he said: "I could not get over how many staff were waiting outside and I fear it may have caused a total disruption to the smooth running of this remarkable organisation, particularly if I've ruined their lunch break!"

Turning his attention to more serious matters, His Majesty told of his sadness at how climate change has led to flooding, wildfires and loss of biodiversity around Africa. 

"It is particularly heart-breaking to know that in the Horn of Africa alone, tens of millions of people face severe hunger and drought," he said. "As I am sure the many experts in this room know only too well, left unchecked, global warming, biodiversity loss and climate change are challenges which threaten us all and can only be met by the whole of society working together in the spirit of action, partnership and commitment."

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