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elephant orphanage project

GRI’s Elephant Orphanage Project was established in 2008 with critical funding from the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF), with the mission to rescue, rehabilitate and release orphaned elephants back into the wild.

Zambia’s elephants continue to face persecution through illegal ivory poaching and human-elephant conflict as wildlife and communities are increasingly brought into contact as they fight for the same resources.

The young and vulnerable orphaned calves who are left behind are the real victims of wildlife crime and conflict. Without a mother’s protection and nutrition they would not survive for long.

The goal with every elephant we rescue is to return them to the wild where they belong, but this is a very lengthy process as we work to rehabilitate, recover and restore broken hearts and injured bodies.  We take a research led approach and collect data on the orphans from the point of rescue through to their release which is critical to informing management and ensuring welfare.

It usually takes over 10 years for an elephant to be nurtured and rehabilitated from their traumatic start and have developed into a strong and confident enough young adult who is ready physically and emotionally to be reintegrated into a wild herd, to live their life back in the wild where they belong.

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GRI comes to the aid of young elephants who have been displaced from their herds as a result of human activity.

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The rescued elephant's rehabilitation starts at Lusaka Elephant Nursery where the young orphans receive around-the-clock care. 

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When ready, the orphans are relocated to Kafue Release Facility where they learn to become part of a herd.

Meet the Orphan Herd

Meet the orphans who are currently under the care of Game Rangers International at Lusaka Elephant Nursery and Kafue Release Facility.  Each of the orphans has their own tragic story, but each now has a new chance at a life back in the wild, where they belong. 

Find out more about the elephants by visiting our Meet the Herd page. 

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Game Rangers International's Elephant Orphanage Project is supported by our partners in conservation.