We are thrilled to announce that Game Rangers International (GRI) is partnering with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) on an exciting new conservation venture in Lusaka National Park, Zambia. The GRI - Wildlife Discovery Centre (WDC) will connect the plight of Zambia’s orphaned elephants to an immersive educational experience.
Ground has now broken in Lusaka National Park, on the site in which the renowned elephant nursery will be relocated, following the ground-breaking of a new conservation education hub that occurred earlier this year. Together, these two initiatives will formulate the GRI – Wildlife Discovery Centre and inspire visitors to the incredible Zambian wildlife and wild spaces, as well as raising essential awareness of the need for their protection.
The project was borne of a legacy left by wildlife artist and conservationist David Shepherd CBE, who wished for a place where children could visit and be inspired to take action to protect their natural heritage. The GRI - Wildlife Discovery Centre will celebrate the wealth of Zambia’s natural resources, highlighting key conservation issues and the vital efforts of wildlife rangers who work tirelessly for its protection.
Our mission is moulded by the belief that long-term conservation can only be achieved through engaging, empowering and working with the communities in and around protected areas to ensure that they receive tangible benefits from wildlife and wild spaces.
Engaging the next generation of decision and policymakers in conservation education will promote their investment of the protection of natural resources within Zambia and around the globe. The GRI – Wildlife Discovery Centre aims to host over 250,000 children by the year 2050. The Conservation Education Ranger will facilitate an engaging and immersive learning experience, leading students in their exploration of the interactive Discovery Huts, a nature walk through the National Park and transporting them to four of Zambia’s rich ecosystems via the multi-sensory habitats. The students will be introduced to varied species of wildlife and conservation threats through vibrant talking walls, storyboards, and group activities.
The education hub is being built with the funding and support of The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation and will include an information hub, exploration hall, three Discovery Huts for collaborative exhibitions by partner organisations, a gift shop, café, and picnic areas.
Nine years since its development, the elephant nursery will be relocated into Lusaka National Park to complement and enhance the education hub and create an immersive learning experience. The relocation to the National Park, which is being funded and supported by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, aligns with GRI’s ethos and close partnership with the DNPW. This will help with the further development and success of this new and important Park, established just outside the country’s capital. Lusaka National Park will also provide a ‘wilder’ environment for rehabilitating the young elephants. Being a significantly larger piece of protected land, it will further reduce their exposure to the sights, smells and sounds of human activity.
By developing the GRI – Wildlife Discovery Centre in Lusaka National Park, GRI are ensuring that visitors experience conservation education and the opportunity to observe elephant orphans in their natural habitat. The Centre will be within reach to many, who otherwise would not have access to Zambia’s natural wealth. This partnership aims to promote the Lusaka National Park as a park for all people.
Sport Beattie, CEO of Game Rangers International said, “Zambia is blessed with an amazing and diverse natural heritage, however, most people in Zambia, especially those living in the city centres like Lusaka, will never get to experience and deeply appreciate its beauty and global significance from an environmental point of view.
Long before Net Zero 2050, the school going children of today will be directly responsible for the day-to-day decisions affecting the health and well-being of our planet. The importance of the GRI - Wildlife Discovery Centre in Zambia cannot be over-stated. It will service more than 900 schools in and around Lusaka and it will afford us with a unique and strategic opportunity to influence Zambia’s future decision makers”.
The Wildlife Discovery Centre aims to open its doors in early 2022 and is expected to welcome over 40,000 visitors in its first year.
To find out more about the Game Rangers International - Wildlife Discovery Centre and see how you can get involved, visit www.gamerangersinternational.org/wildlife-discovery-centre