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NAIROBI (Reuters) - Dame Daphne Sheldrick, a well-known Kenyan conservationist who helped protect the East African country's wildlife for 60 years, has died, her organisation announced on Friday, describing her

as a friend of elephants who "learned to read their hearts."

Born in 1934 in Kenya, Sheldrick died Thursday evening "after a long battle with breast cancer," according to her organisation the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) which she helped found in 1977 after the death of her husband.

The statement praised her for helping deepen the world's understanding of elephants and rhinos.

She pioneered raising orphaned infant elephants and rhinos on milk, the statement said, and that the knowledge has since saved 230 elephants in Kenya.

"Daphne lived alongside elephants and learned to read their hearts...she understood their fragility, their intelligence, their capacity to love," the statement said.

(Writing by Elias Biryabarema)

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Reuters