The David Shepard Foundation, along with Game Rangers International, were both instrumental in my decision to take over a month off of work and volunteer at The Elephant Orphanage Zambia in November, 2015. These trusted organizations gave me peace of mind that I would be participating in a true rescue/rehabilitation/release program and not a tourist experience.
(Following exert taken from www.davidshepherd.org website.)
Founded by DSWF in 2007 the Elephant Orphanage Project ( EOP ) now has two main sites, the Nursery Facility in Lilayi and the Release Facility in Kafue National Park.
The Nursery provides the round-the-clock care and attention that the young orphans desperately need. With regular 24-hour feeds required and often medical treatments too the keepers are on site 24/7.
When the elephants are weaned they are relocated to the release site in the Kafue National Park where they begin the re-wilding process, taking long and regular walks into the bush and browsing in the safety of the outer boma . It is here they come into contact with the wild herds that one day they will rejoin.
The project started with an elephant called Phoenix who was rescued by DSWF in February 2001 when, just weeks old, she was found trying to suckle from her dead mother. Against all the odds, Phoenix pulled through and became the catalyst of this exciting new project. Shortly after her successful release in the Kafue , Phoenix contracted bilary , previously unrecorded in elephants, and tragically died. The Release Facility was named Camp Phoenix in her honour and her memory lives on through the successful rescue, rehabilitation and release of new orphans.
The elephant orphanage is part of a wider programme of community outreach, education and park protection to ensure a long-term future for Zambia’s wildlife.