Lusaka Elephant Nursery
Born September 2021
Found in a mud hole, at only 2 months old.
Wamwayi was found in a mud hole at just under 2 months old. He was desperately trying to escape and despite the community’s careful observation, there was sadly no sign of his mother.
He was rescued by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife and Conservation South Luangwa who quickly transferred him to Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust where he was stabilised through essential rehydration and nutrition. Once inside the Boma at Chipembele, the little calf was able to get some much-needed rest after the trauma of being stuck in the hole and his desperate efforts to climb out.
Meanwhile, Aaron, a GRI Wildlife Ranger, was urgently transported to his side to settle him and offer him the expert care and comfort such young elephants need. Despite his young age, Aaron was reassured to see that he had a fierce appetite and good energy (in between revitalising naps) so he was named Wamwayi which means “lucky one” in the local language of Chinyanja.
Once he was given veterinary clearance to travel, he was transported by air to Lusaka and then by trailer to the Elephant Nursery. Despite his vigour, he was still extremely vulnerable and needed constant attention and plenty of stable/bed rest after the long journey.
Once he was strong enough, Wamwayi was able to meet his new herd at the Nursery. Despite some confident first steps, he became unnerved as bold Shezongo approached him, and he and initially backed away. However, with encouragement from Aaron, he soon settled and received friendly greetings from the herd.
Wamwayi is at such a critical age for social learning and at only 2 months old, he has had little experience with any herd, so it is important for him to learn key skills for his development, welfare, and his eventual release one day.
In this early stage of rehabilitation, Wamwayi desperately needs his human family to provide vital nutrition and support to help him recover from his trauma. This reliance will decrease as he progresses further into his rehabilitation and transfers his dependency on the other elephants within the herd.
But for now, the Rangers mean nutrition, security, and love.
Wamwayi was the first elephant to approach the most recent orphan, Mataya. However, when he caught Mataya’s scent, he ran to Mbila’s stable and instead, followed her to investigate the newcomer. Wamwayi was keen to assert his dominance with he arrival of a new, younger male, so attempted to mount him. He was gently pushed away by the Keepers. Wamway likely felt that his position in the herd could be threatened, especially his relationship with matriarch Mbila.