Game Rangers International (GRI) and the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) welcomes the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) as a new partner of the Elephant Orphanage Project in Zambia today. The partnership between the three organizations strengthens elephant rescue and conservation efforts in the country. The Elephant Orphanage Project (EOP) is a project of Game Rangers International, established by the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, in close collaboration with the Zambia Wildlife Authority. The EOP's mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and release orphaned elephants back into the wild. It offers sanctuary for defenseless abandoned elephant calves, often the tragic victims of poaching and human conflict.
Officially inaugurated by the Vice President of Zambia, Dr Guy Scott on the 29th September 2012, the EOP Lilayi Elephant Nursery in the outskirts of Lusaka is the first rehabilitation center of its kind in the region of Southern Africa.
"African elephants are being subjected to a relentless surge in poaching," said Azzedine Downes, IFAW President and CEO. "We are proud to be a partner of the Elephant Orphanage Project in Zambia that saves the lives of innocent elephant calves. Now more than ever, we must work together to ensure their survival."
"The Elephant Orphanage Project is a vital component of GRI's mission to address the major conservation issues faced by Zambia" said Sport Beattie, CEO of GRI. "Not only does it help return the tragically orphaned elephant calves back to the wild spaces where they belong but it also helps raise much needed public attention on the pressures that Africa's elephants and protected areas are facing. With this new and very welcome support from IFAW we can continue our efforts to tackle these complex problems.
"The national parks in Zambia are some of the last unspoiled wildernesses in Africa" said Sally Case, DSWF CEO. "We have been working closely with GRI for some time to ensure Zambia's elephant population is protected and has the freedom and safety to roam in the wild, and we are thrilled to have IFAW join this vitally important initiative."
Under the age of two, young elephants are incredibly vulnerable and dependent. Many orphan elephants do not survive without intricate care and nutrient rich milk from their mothers. At the EOP Lilayi Elephant Nursery these fragile elephants are cared for around the clock. A team of locally employed, highly trained keepers care for them and watch over them constantly – whether out during their daily walks, or sitting close by their stables at night. Together with their new siblings and keepers, these young elephants learn to overcome the tragic loss of their natal family, as they browse, play and bath together in a natural environment. More....