In zimbabwe, we want to ensure that, instead of a death sentence, orphan elephants get a new lease of life.
Without their mothers, orphaned young calves struggle to find milk and shelter. They struggle to avoid predators. And they struggle with psychological trauma. They struggle, in other words, to survive.
In 2012, our partner organisation, Wild is Life, established the Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery (ZEN), the first in the country. Today, we help them to rescue and rehabilitate the elephants orphaned by poaching and human-wildlife conflict.
Orphaned elephants found in Zimbabwe spend three to five years under the care of ZEN. Each elephant receives personalised attention from full-time keepers, who ensure that elephants get the care they need to survive and the support they need to thrive.
Once these elephants reach adolescence, they start to outgrow the nursery. At this point, it’s important to help them find a herd—and a place where they can roam.
At ZEN, the orphaned elephants create their own social family structure. So, to find them a home, we worked with government agencies to secure an 85,000 acre habitat in the Panda Masuie Forest Reserve, converting that land from a hunting concession into a nature reserve where the elephants can be released.
We also engaged local communities to ensure that they can peacefully coexist with the elephants living on their doorstep. We have introduced six elephants into the reserve.
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The problems we face are urgent, complicated, and resistant to change. Real solutions demand creativity, hard work and involvement from people like you.