Game Rangers International are a charity working hard protect Zambia’s threatened wildlife. Love Nature is currently making two shows with GRI, focusing on its Elephant Orphanage Project, which is involved in rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing orphaned elephants back into the wild. For more information, please visit our Make a Difference page.

UPDATE FROM THE FIELD

With the dry season well under way wildlife throughout Zambia is beginning to show signs of strain. In particular elephants evidence the shortage of fresh greens quite visibly and you may already start to see their ribs showing. The orphans in the care of GRI-Elephant Orphanage Project are no exception in also exhibiting this natural decline of lush vegetation.

At the Lilayi Elephant Nursery the young orphans (from point of rescue until three to four years old) are fed a protein and fat rich milk formula every three hours, so their nutrient intake is high. Despite this, the orphans over a year old who are eating plenty of browse (which is a natural component of their diet as soon as their teeth allow) are also dropping weight in relation to the dry vegetation.

To keep them in optimum condition we can compensate by ensuring their milk formula matches their needs and give them a boost when needed. This will ensure they are in optimal condition when they return to Kafue National Park and are weaned.

However the orphans over three years old at the Kafue Release Facility are all milk-weaned and survive mainly on natural vegetation so the reduction in the quality of food available is much more visible in their condition. Since many of the orphans at the Release Facility are still too small to be allowed to wander in the Park freely at night they are kept safe inside a paddock.

It is essential we provide additional food sources inside the paddock to ensure the elephants maintain condition and it is with huge thanks to the unwavering support of Nutrifeeds, who have supported EOP for six years, that we have been able to ensure the Release Herd maintain good weight throughout this hard time of year.

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