Senior Keeper, Victor Wotala has worked for GRI for 6 years. His day-to-day work involves going on morning and afternoon walks with the orphaned elephants, making sure the water bowl in boma is full, cleaning the stables and presenting to the public on the deck. He wakes up at 05:00 AM every morning for work, but enjoys his job because he loves elephants and has a passion for wildlife.
What is your favourite part of your Job?
I enjoy preparing the milk for the orphaned elephants and feeding them when they are out on their bush walks and less exposed to people.
Who is your favourite Orphaned Elephant?
I loved Suni because she saved my life by chasing away a snake that was about to bite me, and I also learnt a lot from taking care of her, like animal acupuncture, administering essential oils and much more. It was a huge loss when she died.
I like Kasewe because she has a motherly heart - she always stops the fights between the elephants and I also find her unique because she is tuskless and it is my first time seeing a tuskless Elephant.
How does it affect you when there is a new rescued Orphaned Elephant?
Rescues always involve a lot of work. As a Senior Keeper I go to the rescue sites. My first rescue was in Lower Zambezi National Park, it was an exciting experience because I had never seen the place. It’s always a challenge to capture an orphaned elephant because they are vulnerable and scared. All it wants is to see is its mother but instead it sees humans, so that makes it frightened. When they come to the nursery, new Rescues are not allowed to interact with the old herd at the facility and even feeding them is a slow process because they have to trust that what you are giving them is food.
What is the least favourite part of your Job?
When the elephants lose their contact with the keepers and they find wild animals and get scared. The rainy season is also a challenge because it’s muddy everywhere, we always have to return the elephants to the boma when it raining heavily and data collection is also difficult.
How do you feel about Poaching?
Poaching is very bad and it makes me sad to see that people can perform such horrifying acts to an elephant.
How have you contributed on the fight for conservation in your community?
I tell my friends and family about the importance of conserving wildlife. I also wear my GRI shirt in public so that people ask me about GRI and I can explain what we do and how they can help.
How do you feel when you see the environment being distorted?
I don’t like it, when I see the environment being destroyed
What would be your advice towards people that destroy the environment?
They need to find other jobs that do not involve the distortion of the environment.