Prominent elephant conservationist Daphne Sheldrick has died at the age of 83, a Kenya-based wildlife organisation has said.

A statement by The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust said she died on Thursday evening after a long battle with breast cancer.

It said: “It is with sadness that we announce the passing of our founder, Dame Daphne Sheldrick, yesterday evening after a long battle with breast cancer. Her legacy is immeasurable and lives on in the tiny steps of baby elephants for generations to come.

Sheldrick received global attention for her work raising more than 200 orphaned baby elephants.

The statement said that “more than 100 orphaned elephants are now living a wild life, with 29 known wild-born babies”.

The trust added: “We are so deeply touched and moved by the thousands of comments we have received over the past few hours, sharing your condolences, your stories of Dame Daphne and the many ways in which our matriarch inspired people from all corners of the globe.

“Though we are unable to respond to each of you, please know we are reading your messages, which are a source of great comfort to all of us and Dame Daphne’s family.

“Daphne positively impacted the lives of so many, and we know all are experiencing her passing in their own way.”

It said Sheldrick was made a Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 2006.