Home Conservation Protecting Species Rescue, Rehabilitation, and Release

DSWF is committed to protecting endangered species in their natural habitat. Our efforts are focused on safeguarding these wild populations for future generations.

DSWF were key and founding partners of the Wildlife Programme in Zambia (previously known as the Elephant Orphanage Project).

The programme rescues elephants from the wild who have been orphaned (usually a result of poaching and human-wildlife conflict), rehabilitates them, and then gradually releases them back into the wild at the Kafue Release Facility (KRF) in the south of Kafue National Park (KNP).

49 orphaned elephants have been supported by the programme so far.


From arriving at the orphanage, the elephants receive intensive around the clock care. They bottle fed every three hours in some cases and even watched over while they sleep by their dedicated and highly trained keepers.  They are taken for regular walks and are slowly nursed back to health and helped to overcome their loss.  Once the calves have been weaned, have gained in strength, and have formed a bond with the other elephants, they are then taken to the release facility.


At the release facility the orphans learn to become more independent of human support. They browse freely in the national park and adjacent Nkala Game Management Area, slowly integrating into the wild herds, gaining their protection, and learning the social skills they will need to thrive. They are watched over at a distance by their carers, and also tracked with GPS satellite collars. The orphans also have the option to return to the safety of the boma at night, which allows their carers to monitor them closely.



Usually between the ages of 10-15, the orphaned elephants will fully integrate into the herds and complete their journey back to the wild. They continue to be tracked with satellite collars so their behaviour and well-being can be monitored. Our conservation partners on the ground provide intensive anti-poaching patrols to protect the released elephants, and the wild herds that they are now part of, both in the release area and beyond.

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation
Adopt an Elephant

Help support orphaned elephants by adopting today. Also makes the perfect sustainable gift for your family and friends. Our animal adoptions include a personalised certificate, species factsheet, animal bio sheet, photo and a beautiful sketch print of your animal. You can also opt to receive a unique handmade animal toy.  Take out your adoption here.

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation
Research & Monitoring

Research and monitoring of endangered species is crucial in order to understand their behaviour and to therefore design the best strategies for protecting Find out more about this work here.

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation
Wildlife Emergencies

Sometimes, rapid, short-term funding is required to deal with emergency wildlife situations.  We work with all our conservation partners on the ground to deal with such situations when they arise, and we are nimble enough to respond rapidly when the situation demands it. Find out more here.

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

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All donations will help us continue our vital work conservation work to protect endangered species and turn the tide on extinction.

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