Home News DSWF supports the rescue of two-year-old elephant, Chipembele

DSWF supports the rescue of two-year-old elephant, Chipembele

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

Thanks to an incredible, collaborative effort, another young elephant orphan has been rescued in Zambia. The two-year-old calf is now being rehabilitated by our ground-based partner, Game Rangers International (GRI), with the hope for a future release back into the wild.   

Last week, staff from Lion Camp reported a severely injured, lame elephant with a suckling calf in South Luangwa National Park. Sadly, the mother elephant had suffered a fatal gunshot wound, almost certainly inflicted by ivory poachers. In poor condition and with her milk already starting to dry up, a heart-rending decision had to be made to euthanise her and save the calf.

The calf was moved by road to Chipembele Wildlife Education for stabilisation and GRI’s keeper, Elvis, rushed to the scene to assist.

After waking from sedatives, the young elephant was clearly distressed and disoriented. His reaction was unsurprising, considering the heartbreak and trauma he had just been through. As a milk–dependant youngster, he would have not strayed far from his mother’s side throughout his life and the bond between mother and calf is incredibly intense and filled with emotion, much like our own. 

After some time, having been provided with food, water and Elvis’s constant company, he began to settle. He was willing to accept a bottle (of electrolytes and later milk) from Elvis within 24 hours of his rescue, but he did not relax enough to sleep for over three days. 

This little elephant was a fighter for sure. Due to his tough appearance, and in acknowledgement of this critical support, he was called ‘Chipembele’, the name for ‘black rhino’ in the local language of Chinyanja.

Chipembele faces a challenging journey to recover from his trauma and we need your help to give him a chance of a life back in the wild, where he belongs.  

Help us continue supporting the vital work of our ground-based partners, GRI, by donating today: https://davidshepherd.org/donations/donate-elephants/ 

Thanks also to our friends in conservation at Lion Camp, the Department of National Parks & Wildlife , Conservation South Luangwa, Proflight Zambia, IFAW, Olsen Animal Trust and Elephant Cooperation for their crucial role in Chipembele’s rescue.

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