GRI – Wildlife Rescue recently responded to an orphan elephant alert in the small village of Fungulani, Feira.
Two fisherman, Emmanuel and Mbewe, noticed the young elephant alone in a thicket, as they made their way home from their gardens. The men restrained the calf gently with some soft ropes, and observed her from a distance for 5 hours, hoping to witness the herd return for her. When no other elephants came, Emmanuel and Mbewe called GRI, who communicated the sighting to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife and deployed their Wildlife Rescue Team.
The Warden of Lower Zambezi National Park rushed to Fungulani and safely transferred the calf to the Park Offices, where she was monitored by 3 individuals who had previously received Orphan Response Training from GRI. The Wildlife Rescue team arrived the next day to find a weak and malnourished young calf. It is thought that she had been separated from her herd for several days. The team loaded the elephant on to the rescue trailer and transferred her to the Lilayi Elephant Nursery.
The first few days at the Nursery were challenging for the young calf, who could hardly stand. Her Keepers offered her Lectade 4 times a day, to help give her energy and prevent infections, and fed her 500ml of specialized milk formula every 2 hours. Once she had regained strength, the little orphan was named Fungulani “Lani” in honor of the village she was found in.
A few weeks after her rescue, Lani was deemed strong enough to move amongst the rest of the Nursery Herd. The first interaction took place through protective contact, to ensure she wouldn’t be pushed over by her boisterous surrogate siblings. As expected, young matriarch Kasewe was extremely tactile with the new calf, whereas Mkaliva and Tuko appeared much more interested in their food!
Lani was very happy to follow Keeper Elvis out of the Boma for the first time. The team were delighted to see how interested Mkaliva was in the newcomer once out in the bush. Lani slotted straight into line on the morning walking, and delightedly joined the others in a mud bath! Initially, she focused on her own mudding, but after a little while, she became much more tactile, trying to sit on Mkaliva and Kasewe as they lay in the pool.
We couldn’t have hoped for a more welcoming and engaging introduction!
We at Elephant Cooperation are raising funds to support Lani!
100% of profits from sales of these I HELP SAVE ELEPHANTS t-shirts will go towards providing Lani with the critical care she needs.
Originally posted on GRI’s blog on February 6, 2019 by Muriel Simukonda