Protecting Elephants

by David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation
Protecting Elephants
Protecting Elephants
Protecting Elephants
Protecting Elephants
Protecting Elephants
Protecting Elephants
Protecting Elephants
Protecting Elephants
Protecting Elephants
Protecting Elephants
Protecting Elephants
Protecting Elephants
Protecting Elephants
Protecting Elephants

Project Report | May 9, 2024
Protecting Elephants- May Update

By Eleanor E | Individual Giving Executive

Lumezi: Game Rangers International
Lumezi: Game Rangers International

Our partner’s rehabilitation facility remains dedicated to the welfare and conservation of Zambia's elephant population, currently providing support to 26 orphaned elephants. Securing the surrounding Release Area is paramount to safeguarding not only the elephant orphans but also the wild elephant herds and other wildlife species that rely on the Kafue National Park and adjacent Game Management Areas for their survival. Despite ongoing conservation efforts, poaching remains a persistent threat in Africa's protected areas, exacerbated by the severe drought conditions experienced in 2024.

This January, an unprecedented case of human-elephant conflict in the form of crop raiding took place after a heard of over 50 individuals made their way from Kasungu National Park in Malawi to the Lumezi community in Zambia. The community and local rangers were successful in driving the elephants off their land, however, in all of the commotion, three tiny young elephant calves were separated from their mothers. The first of the three was the calf of a collared individual, and thanks to this technology, the team was able to accurately identify and locate the herd that same evening and return the calf to its mother safely. The second calf to be found was no more than four weeks old and was discovered in a ditch nearby with a machete wound to his head. Due to the dispersal of the original herd and the great distances travelled, the team was unsuccessful in identifying a mother and reuniting this calf with her. The final calf, no more than six weeks old, was discovered unharmed near the local health clinic. The team tried to locate this calf’s mother but again to no avail, and ultimately on the 18th of January, the decision was made to move both calves to our partners facility for treatment.

At just four and six weeks old, the calves were too small to be moved in a crate and so instead, were transported on a specially made elephant mattress with cross body seatbelts to ensure comfort and security. At this young age, they would normally be with their mothers all of the time and so to ensure that the orphans felt protected and reassured, our team stayed in constant physical contact with them for the duration of the move. The elder of the two calves was named Kasungu, meaning “Blessed one”, and the younger named Lumezi, after the community in Zambia where he was found. Devastatingly, in February, Lumezi succumbed to his injuries. Despite round the clock care from our partners and expert vet help, he was ultimately just too young and weak to survive the machete wound. Kasungu is currently doing well in recovery at the Elephant Nursery in Lusaka National Park, where his strength and his confidence are growing daily. To read the full story, click here for the full blog post.

In March of 2024, President Hakainde Hichilema declared Zambia’s drought to be a National Disaster and Emergency, prompting initiatives to address food security challenges. Crop diversification projects and climate-smart programmess promoting sustainable agricultural practices, such as reduced water usage, organic farming techniques, agroforestry, and crop rotation, aim to mitigate the impact of drought on local communities while fostering environmental resilience. The heightened desperation within local communities means that there is an urgent need for increased security measures to protect the orphans, the Release Facility, and the wild herds that these elephants will eventually integrate with. Drought and food insecurity pose challenges to elephants in this region with the capacity to affect both their physical health and overall well-being. As herbivores, elephants rely heavily on access to water and a diverse range of vegetation to meet their nutritional needs. During drought periods, water sources diminish, and vegetation becomes scarce, forcing elephants to travel long distances in search of sustenance. The scarcity of food and water not only leads to malnutrition but also increases competition among elephant herds and with other wildlife species for limited resources. This heightened competition can result in aggression, displacement, and even conflict between elephants and humans as they encroach upon agricultural lands in search of food and water. When adult elephants struggle to find enough food and water to sustain themselves, they may weaken and become more susceptible to disease or predation. This vulnerability can result in the death of adult elephants, leaving their dependent calves orphaned, leading to an influx of orphans to our partner’s facility and overwhelming their capacity.

As always, thank you for your generous support in providing a more sustainable future for the elephants of Zambia, and the communities that live alongside them.

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Lumezi and Kasungu: Game Rangers International
Lumezi and Kasungu: Game Rangers International
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Jan 11, 2024
Protecting Elephants - January Update

By Jo | Senior Fundraising Executive

Sep 14, 2023
Protecting Elephants - September Update

By Jo B | Senior Fundraising Executive

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Organization Information

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

Location: Guildford, Surrey - United Kingdom
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @DSWFwildlife
Project Leader:
Lawrence Avery
Guildford , Surrey United Kingdom
$6,467 raised of $20,000 goal
122 donations
$13,533 to go
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