Home News General A New Year and a New Chance

A New Year and a New Chance

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

While many around the world settled into Christmas, enjoying the festivities and making those last few preparations, a tiny elephant was discovered wandering alone along the banks of the Luangwa River in Rufunsa, Zambia.

Thanks to swift action by local community members and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), the small female orphan was reported, rescued and taken into protection at the DNPW Headquarters for initial treatment and vital stabilisation.

She was observed in an area where a large herd of elephants had previously passed through. However, with daylight fading, her condition deteriorating and no sign of any herds nearby, action was taken and the exhausted baby was rescued and brought to safety.

Deprived of her mother’s care and milk, she was in a desperate condition and collapsed from extreme exhaustion just after the rescue. At just under a year old she is able to eat vegetation but is still dependent on milk to survive. After receiving life-saving IV fluids and other veterinary treatments, she was transferred to our ground-based Project Partners, the Game Rangers International Elephant Orphanage Project (GRI EOP) to receive the care and a second chance which she so greatly deserves.

Over the next few critical days, Little ‘Lani’, named Fungulani after the village she was found in, was in much need of rest, unable to stand without the help of the EOP Nursery keepers. She spent much of her time sleeping. Her scrapes and sores were treated with turmeric powder, a natural healing agent and fly repellent (the yellow markings in the photos), and she accepted every drink she was offered. Slowly she began regaining energy.

Over Christmas she managed to stand alone and, after five days of bed rest, she was encouraged out of the stable for a little exercise. She has found it challenging to adjust to the changes in her diet and is still in need of a lot of rest, but little Lani is doing well and continues to improve.

Liz O’Brien, who looks after the veterinary, medical and nutritional needs of the calves at GRI EOP, visited the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) offices during her Christmas holiday back to the UK.

Having responded well to her initial convalescent period, we are pleased with Lani’s continued progress. She is having her milk formula increased every few days as well as spending increased amounts of time in the boma gaining confidence in her new surroundings.”  Liz told DSWF staff. “I am hopeful that she will be strong enough to join the nursery herd soon.”

Your donations help support the incredible and dedicated team providing this care and the rescue of orphan elephants like Lani, often as a result of human wildlife conflict. Thanks to you, and all involved, little Lani can start 2019 on her journey through care, rehabilitation and, when she is ready, release back into the wild.

Thank you for your continued support.

You can find out more about the elephant orphans in Zambia and our work to protect elephants by clicking the links below:

  • Protecting Elephants
  • Elephant Orphans in Zambia

Help us continue to protect elephants

We still have so much work to do to try to protect these sentient animals from wildlife crime and ensure the future of the species.


  • Campaign for the strongest laws and international protectionist policies
  • Fund the rescue, rehabilitation and release of orphaned elephants in Zambia
  • Support wildlife rangers at the ground-based projects we fund across Africa
  • Fund rapid response to wildlife emergencies to help mitigate human wildlife conflict in Asia

If you feel able to do more, then please let us know if you would like to make a regular monthly gift by clicking here or calling 01483 272323.

What you can do to help


Make a donation to support our work protecting elephants 


Adopt an Elephant today!


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