Elephant Orphanage Project - ZambiaOrphaned elephants need a new herd and a new home
LUSAKA, Zambia (September 13, 2019) – On Monday, September 9, 2019, 13 year old herd matriarch, Chamilandu, gave birth to a healthy male calf - a historic first for the Elephant Orphanage Project (EOP). The project, a joint effort of Game Rangers International (GRI) in collaboration with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), is the first elephant orphanage in Southern Africa and the second on the continent with a focus on rehabilitating and releasing orphaned elephants back to the wild. The project is currently rehabilitating 16 elephants at the release facility in Zambia’s Kafue National Park.
In November 2007, Chamilandu was orphaned at eighteen months old when her mother was killed by poachers. She was immediately rescued by Zambia’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) and Conservation South Luangwa (CSL). She was nursed to health in the rehabilitation program where she proved to be a confident and capable young calf, eventually becoming the matriarch of the orphan herd. Four years ago, Chama transitioned to the release phase of her rehabilitation in which she left the confines of the boma. Through GPS satellite technology, researchers continue to track her free-roaming movement in Kafue National Park. Chamilandu was observed with a wild bull elephant in September 2017 and in early 2018, began to show signs of pregnancy. Through close monitoring, the team then prepared for the arrival of a new calf.
“Our work with the EOP focuses on providing the best care possible to the orphaned elephants to prepare them for life in the wild,” said Katie Moore, Deputy Vice President of Animal Rescue at IFAW. “Our ultimate goal is to see released animals thriving in the wild. The birth of Chamilandu’s calf is evidence that we are reaching that goal. In this way, the rescue and care of one individual animal can contribute to the conservation of the population. Every individual matters.”
“We rescue elephant calves who have been orphaned primarily as a result of human activity. Working with a conservation partner like IFAW has enabled us to greatly develop our research program to develop a deeper understanding of elephants and to ensure these rescued elephants are successfully reintegrated into wild elephant herds,” said Rachael Murton, Director of Wildlife Rescue at GRI.
The GRI-Elephant Orphanage Project (EOP) operates in partnership with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF), Olsen Animal Trust (OAT) and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) of Zambia.
About the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW):
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is a global non-profit helping animals and people thrive together. We are experts and everyday people, working across seas, oceans, and in more than 40 countries around the world. We rescue, rehabilitate, and release animals, and we restore and protect their natural habitats. The problems we’re up against are urgent and complicated. To solve them, we match fresh thinking with bold action. We partner with local communities, governments, non-governmental organizations, and businesses. Together, we pioneer new and innovative ways to help all species flourish. See how at ifaw.org.
About Game Ranger International
Game Rangers International (GRI) is a non-profit organization established in Zambia in 2008. GRI works in close partnership with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) to empower Rangers and Local Communities to conserve nature. We embrace a holistic approach to conservation, and empower Rangers across three core thematic areas: Resource Protection, Community Outreach, and Wildlife Rescue.