Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT) in conjunction with Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC), have provided care and rehabilitation to orphaned elephants through the years. During this time we have recognised the need to build a dedicated elephant orphanage on a separate piece of land. This project was created to help us start raising funds to not only care for the current elephant orphan in the care at HESC, but most importantly to enable WCT to build a new dedicated orphanage.
Elephant numbers have declined rapidly over recent years, and hence are listed as vulnerable in IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, with approximately 400 000 African elephants left. Orphaned elephants are common in certain parts of Africa such as Kenya and Tanzania, due to elephant poaching. It is harsh reality that this will spread more commonly into South Africa, and we have to be prepared. With this, every single elephant life is precious, and we are there to protect each one we can.
It will be the first of its kind in South Africa and a building block from the limited facilities that we currently have at HESC. The decision has been made recently, following an increase in the request for assistance with orphaned elephant calves, and we have already started building the nursery close to the unique Jabulani elephant herd, who have accepted four elephant calves in previous years. Their highly experienced team at Jabulani have been instrumental in the care of the elephant calves
It will be advantageous on an emotional level for baby elephants to be near a mature, close-knit elephant herd, this will also create a more comfortable space to monitor the stages of integration into the herd on an individual basis for each baby elephants needs. Our first and foremost prerogative with every orphaned elephant is to ensure their survival through their early formative years, and the Jabulani herd provide an ideal and unique family structure for the baby elephant