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DSWF supports a journey back into the wild

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

In June 2021, DSWF supported ground-based conservation partners Game Rangers International to relocate two orphaned elephants in Zambia from the Lilayi Elephant Nursery to the Kafue Release Facility to begin their journey back to the wild.

Both elephants, named Ludaka and Lufutuko, were found frightened and alone outside the confines of the Kafue National Park in Zambia. Young elephants like Ludaka and Lufutuko are highly dependent on their mothers to acquire the necessary social and behavioural skills that equip them to meet life’s challenges. Male elephants don’t leave their herds until between the age of 12-15 whilst females remain with their kin for life. This was therefore a worrying situation prompting David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation’s ground-based conservation partners to rescue both elephants and bring them to the Lilayi Elephant Nursery.

Once at the nursery, Ludaka and Lufutuko received round the clock care by an experienced team of Keepers and veterinary specialists. Over the last few years, they have defied the odds and grown into strong playful elephants prompting their relocation. Now that they are physically strong and old enough to be weaned off milk, Ludaka and Lufutuko have joined the older elephants at the release facility. Here they will learn the importance of herd structure, hierarchy and etiquette, which is a vital element of their development and journey back into the wild. Their relocation to Kafue Release Facility marks a momentous moment for the orphans and for all involved in their rehabilitation.

Since 2007, DSWF has supported the rescue of 49 orphaned elephants like Ludaka and Lufutuko. Nine of these have now graduated to the release facility where they have begun their process of reintegrating into the wild and one is now fully wild.

Adopt today and help elephants like Ludaka and Lufutuko

In the last 40 years, African elephant populations have declined by 40%. Projects like the Lilayi Elephant Nursery are vital to safeguard the future of these gentle giants, if we do not act now, they could disappear in our lifetime.

Every adoption purchased, either for you or a loved one, could help give orphaned elephants the second chance they deserve, helping to provide round the clock care, nutritious food and specialist veterinary supplies.


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