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WATCH: Orphaned Elephants Go Nuts for Their 9 AM Milk Feed

The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT) operates an orphan elephant rescue and wildlife rehabilitation program in Nairobi, Kenya. Today, SWT went live on Instagram for the 9 AM milk feed. Its 22 young, orphaned elephants were excited for breakfast, to say the least.

“It is breakfast, and everybody wants to have his or hers,” says head keeper Edwin as a second wave of elephants runs in for bottles.

The elephants get two bottles of milk every three hours, day and night, Edwin tells the live audience. This adds up to about 24 liters of milk per 24 hours, just under 6.5 gallons.

As the elephants drink, Edwin shares information about individual elephants, pointing them out by name. Each one is there by a different circumstance, but they’re all fortunate to have been rescued. Keepers at the Nairobi nursery let the elephants be as wild as possible until they’re ready for re-release.

Based on Edwin’s narration, 3.5 years old seems to be about the age when the orphaned elephants are ready for re-release into the wild.

“We let them be as wild as they want to be,” he says, as the orphans finish lapping up their milk and head back into the forest. Meanwhile, the human caretakers collect empty bottles, put them in wheelbarrows, and head back to start preparing for the next feed.

It sounds like the ultimate labor of love for these endangered animals. Watch the elephants get their 9 AM bottles here:

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) says habitat loss and habitat fragmentation are two reasons African elephants are endangered. Human-elephant conflict and poaching for ivory are two more significant causes for concern.

You can adopt one of these orphaned elephants here.

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