Zam­bia ele­phant or­phan­age de­liv­ers hope

FOUNDED IN 1969, THE IN­TER­NA­TIONAL FUND FOR AN­I­MAL WEL­FARE ( IFAW) SAVES IN­DI­VID­UAL AN­I­MALS, AN­I­MAL POP­U­LA­TIONS AND HABI­TATS ALL OVER THE WORLD. RE­CENTLY THEY AR­RANGED FOR IAIN WEBB AND HIS PART­NER TO VISIT THE LI­LAYI ELE­PHANT NURS­ERY NEAR LUSAKA, ZAM­BIA

Pride Life Magazine - - SPONSORED FEATURE -

When Michael and I ar­rived at the or­phan­age, we put on the green coats that the care­tak­ers all wear when they in­ter­act with the ele­phants, and headed to where they all sleep at night.

We found the staff fo­cus­ing on the care of an in­fant ele­phant that had been flown in about two weeks ear­lier. This baby was ap­prox­i­mately one-year-old, and had been on her own af­ter her mother was killed by poach­ers about a month be­fore she was found in a lo­cal vil­lage. She was very mal­nour­ished, with soft tis­sue swelling (edema) re­lated to her se­vere mal­nu­tri­tion.

Un­for­tu­nately, on the day we ar­rived, she was not do­ing well. She pre­vi­ously had had a good ap­petite, but that morn­ing had stopped eat­ing and was show­ing signs of dis­tress. Her belly had swollen up, and it was un­clear whether this was re­lated to se­vere con­sti­pa­tion or whether she had an ad­vanced her­nia block­ing her in­testines.

The vet was go­ing to ex­am­ine her the next morn­ing. We later learned that de­spite the team’s best ef­forts, this young one passed. Given how sick she had be­come, this was not a sur­prise. But it was still very sad, and re­minded us how dif­fi­cult the work of this or­phan­age can be.

The fa­cil­i­ties of the or­phan­age in­clude sev­eral acres of open land, where the ele­phants roam dur­ing the day with their pri­mary care­givers, with whom they form strong bonds very quickly when they ar­rive. A sleep­ing area has been cre­ated with as­signed spots for the an­i­mals and the care­givers. There is also a small fenced-in area with a wa­ter hole as well as a view­ing plat­form.

The plat­form al­lows lo­cal fam­i­lies and school chil­dren to visit and watch the ele­phants when they are in the main area of the or­phan­age in the mid­dle of the day, usu­ally play­ing in the

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