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Mataya Update

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

Not too long ago, we shared Mataya’s touching rescue story and luckily this past week has seen an amazing recovery for little Mataya!

On arrival to the Elephant Nursery tiny two month old elephant, Mataya, was so weak that he was unable to stand and was even fed laying down. Mataya has amazed us all with his dramatic response to care, thanks to our devoted ground-based conservation team who has provided around-the-clock care.

Image credit: Game Rangers International

In the first few days he was offered rehydration fluids and milk frequently and in small volumes. However, it was critical that he adapted to the new nutritious milk formula in order that he regains condition and has the energy required for recovery, maintenance and growth. Over the next few days Mataya showed a steady increase in appetite (for milk), energy and settling. He started sleeping deeper and for longer periods, which is a great sign that he is comfortable and relaxed in his new environment with a Keeper always at his side. He is now strong enough to be let out of the stable and stretch his legs further, so each day has been enjoying some time in a little mud hole and wandering around the paddock whilst the Nursery herd are on their daily walk.

Image credit: Game Rangers International

The injury that Mataya sustained has received veterinary attention and is cleaned and treated twice a day. It is a deep, infected wound but thankfully Mataya’s vitals and behaviour are consistently normal indicating that the infection is being kept at bay.

It is heart wrenching to think that someone intentionally attacked Mataya, but this act demonstrates the incredibly challenging realities of human-wildlife conflict and competition for resources. The community in Mataya Unga village lost significant food resources when Mataya’s herd raided, and for these people living on the poverty line, this compromises the health and survival of their own families. It is almost impossible for most of us reading this text on our screens to really understand the gravity of these conflict situations, which frequent result in a loss of both human and wildlife lives.

In our mission to “conserve nature” it is absolutely essential that we first engage and support the people whose lives are so intricately linked to its environmental health.

Image credit: Game Rangers International

Whilst Mataya is currently showing all the right signs of recovery we are still very cautious with his care regime and need to ensure he is strong before he meets the rest of the Nursery herd. The other elephants have shown interest in him and in particular Mbila has been comforting him at night with soft low rumbles which are helping him further relax and sleep more deeply – a key ingredient in his recovery. We hope he will soon be strong enough to meet the herd and have access to move amongst them freely.

You can help Mataya and his new herd by donating now and help give these young orphans the second chance for life that they deserve.

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Andrew White
David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

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