Lusaka Elephant Nursery
Born June 2021
His mother was fatally wounded, and fell asleep side by side with her young, vulnerable son.
On 14th June a mother elephant and her calf were being watched near Chikunto Lodge in South Luangwa National Park. It became apparent that she was struggling to walk, and it was observed that she had been shot in the leg. Wildlife Vets were called to assess the mother elephant for treatment; tragically they confirmed the bullet had penetrated through her leg, breaking bones. She was barely able to move, and the wound was considered fatal.
Both mother and calf were darted with a sedative and fell asleep side by side. Her calf was then carried to a vehicle and transported to Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust to be stabilised. The mother elephant was examined thoroughly under sedation, but the prognosis was the same, and she was sadly euthanised.
The young calf woke up to find himself in a strange enclosure with no mother. He was distraught, traumatised, and screamed with loss. Keeper Audience had been flown in and was there from the moment the terrified young elephant woke up. Audience provided a consistent and reassuring presence and after some time he stopped screaming and was suckling on his fingers for comfort. It was then only a short transition to offer a milk bottle, and within 24 hours of his rescue he was drinking well and starting to settle. He was called ‘Daliso’ meaning ‘Blessing’ in the local language of Nyanja.
Within a few days, Daliso was ready to travel to Lusaka Elephant Nursery to begin his journey of recovery and rehabilitation. When he arrived, he moved easily around his stable, exploring the new smells, all the while supported by Audience. He was calm and had a very settled first night in his new home, drinking milk formula regularly and getting a lot of very well-earned sleep.
Daliso is now over a year old and is close and protective of younger sibling, Chikumbi. However, it is Wamwayi who he spends the most time with. He has learned to be respectful and submissive to Zongo, an older male, but is comfortable enough to initiate interactions. These playful, sparring sessions often end with him being chased and mounted by Zongo. It may be disheartening for Daliso at the moment, but it will make him more determined to improve his skills which will be important when he moved to the Release Facility and then to the wild. He has the perfect teacher in his older sibling, Zongo.