Lusaka Elephant Nursery - ZambiaOrphaned elephants need a new herd and a new home
Days after the grand opening of Lusaka Elephant Nursery (LEN) in Zambia’s Lusaka National Park on August 8, it welcomed a new orphaned elephant calf. Community members had found the female calf, later named Chikumbi, alone and crying for her mother. She joined six others at the new nursery after being rescued by our partner, Game Rangers International (GRI).
Chikumbi will stay at the nursery and receive 24/7 care from dedicated keepers until she’s strong enough to go to the Kafue Release Facility—the second and final stage of release, where human interaction is greatly reduced and the elephants are encouraged to bond with each other and gradually integrate with wild herds as they grow older.
Located in Lusaka National Park, the new spacious LEN nursery that Chikumbi and the other orphaned elephants now call home took two years to complete. The park is located far from the city, with many trees and a massive area for the elephants to learn skills such as foraging and mud bathing.
Plans for construction came together when a production company called Sinking Ship Entertainment (SSE) developed a new show, Endlings, and built sponsorship funds for an elephant conservation project into the production costs. IFAW was chosen as the recipient.
In the show, a group of foster kids move out to a farm and find an alien on a mission to save Earth's last elephant. J.J. Johnson, one of SSE’s founders, felt it was essential the show had concrete ties to raise awareness of the threats facing elephants in Africa. Tuko, the elephant featured in the show, was inspired by an orphaned elephant in rehabilitation at GRI’s Kafue Release Facility named Lufutuko.
For nearly a decade, International Fund for Animal Welfare has partnered with GRI to return orphaned elephants back to the wild. In addition to building the new nursery, our staff have supported the rescue teams, helped individual elephants struggling to survive and designed an elephant calf rescue trailer. Together, we ensure these orphans have the best chance at life back in the wild.
In Zambia, we haven’t stopped with the rescue, rehabilitation and release of orphaned elephants. Zambia is a key part of our Room to Roam campaign. At its core, Room to Roam aims to create safe migratory routes for elephants, and a future in which human communities can coexist and thrive with animals.