Kafue Release Facility
Born December 2017
When rescued, Lufutuko was so frail, the rangers were reluctant to even name her.
“The one who survived.” An apt name for Lufutuko, who is affectionately called Tuko by the wildlife Rangers. It was June 2018 when a call came in about an orphaned elephant in Livingstone. She was captured and stabilised before being flown to the nursery in Lilayi by Proflight Zambia.
It was clear that she had been away from her mother for some time as she was badly malnourished, her ear tips were starting to curl over. Her state was so fragile, the Rangers taking care of her, were reluctant to name her.
However, Lufutuko was a fighter and with great care from her keepers, within time, her health started to improve.
Tuko was one of the most playful elephants in the nursery herd and highly active. She was friendly to the younger one and enjoyed bullying Zongo. She loved her mud baths, especially when the rains had flooded the boma water holes.
By the time Tuko was 3 years old, she was ready to take the next step in her journey back to the wild. Along with her friend Ludaka, she travelled to the Kafue Release Facility where she has now settled and found her place within the release herd.
She keeps herself to herself on walks, however, has formed a bond with Mkaliva. The pair sleep standing together in the afternoons. In the months following her move, Tuko’s body condition dropped, and she lost weight. This could have been attributed to both the stress of the move and the dry season where fresh vegetation is sparse. With the rains and the care of the Rangers at the Release Facility, her condition is improving.
Although she now needs to wait her turn, she still loves a mud bath!
Tuko is looking very healthy this quarter. She left with all the other orphans when they joined a wild herd, but decided to come back with her close surrogate siblings, Ludaka and Olimba. With the departure of the other elephants, Tuko has been extra vigilant and gets spooked easily. On one occasion, while grazing near a water pool, some herons took flight and startled her so she ran off. The Keepers had to run after her, calling her name so she would calm down and stop running. She is being monitored closely, and she is settling down.