Animal Welfare

Rescuing Orphaned Baby Elephants

SD&A is proud of the work that our client, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), is doing to rescue and rehabilitate orphaned baby elephants whose mothers have been killed by poachers and trophy hunters.

It takes a lot of resources to care for and provide a safe home for orphaned animals, especially elephant calves. There’s so much to worry about: specialized milk formula, bottles, rescue vehicles, rescue flights, veterinary care, and enough staff to give the orphans the love and care they need and deserve. It is so sad to see these innocent little elephants. When they’re found, they’re usually starving and malnourished. Many of them are suffering from injuries, and they’re always traumatized from being separated from their families.

Donors to IFAW will make a lifesaving difference for all the elephants being cared for at ZEN, the Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery. Here’s how donations will be used:

  • Donors can help provide the specialized milk formula the calves drink exclusively until they’re at least two years of age. And they’ll continue to drink milk formula with their food until the age of five.
  • Baby elephants — less than one month old — can never be alone. Donors can help provide the four caregivers that work around the clock to care for the youngest calves.
  • Donors can help give baby elephants a safe home. Support for our partnership with ZEN can help make sure the baby elephants have a heated barn to stave off the cold at night, and have a mattress made of hay to prevent chafing. Orphaned elephants are known to suffer from nightmares, so their caregivers sleep next to them whenever needed to keep them calm through the night.
  • Donors can help provide fresh, clean water at all times as well. And they can help make sure that the baby elephants have access to a watering hole in which to swim and mud pits to roll and play in.

Here are the seven orphaned calves being cared for at ZEN:

ANNABELLE was missing her tail and a large section of her trunk, likely from a lion attack, when she was rescued and brought to ZEN. And now that she’s healing, her intelligence and curious nature are shining through.

Sweet SIZI was discovered alone and in terrible condition near the Sizi Spring in southern Zimbabwe. Completely dependent on mother’s milk, she had no hope of surviving without her mother. Sizi was rescued and flown to ZEN where she’s being bottle-fed a special milk formula and given around-the-clock care.

Mischievous MOYO has a big personality. She’s the third-youngest elephant calf at ZEN, and one of the smallest, too. When she was rescued and brought to ZEN she weighed about half of what an elephant calf should weigh at birth.

When MATABELE was rescued and brought to ZEN, his trunk was severely wounded, most likely by a cruel wire snare. As a result, his injured trunk will always be sensitive to the touch.

And then there’s courageous KURA. His back left leg was shattered in two places. And by the time he arrived at ZEN for rehabilitation, the bones had fused around the entire joint making it impossible for the little calf to bend his leg at the knee. He hobbles around the best he can and we have hope that he’ll live a long and full life despite his handicap.

TULKU is the second-youngest of all the orphans. The government turned the young male over to ZEN after he was found to be injured. He’s now receiving around-the-clock care and Annabelle has become his caring surrogate mother.

MOLLY is the newest addition to the ZEN herd and the youngest of all the orphans. Molly’s mother was shot and killed by a hunter. When she arrived into our urgent care center at the Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery, she was very sick and extremely traumatized. We are working day and night to ensure her mental and physical health, and our goal is to eventually release her back into the wild where she can thrive. Molly is getting to know ZEN’s other rescued elephants, and she’s already making great progress!

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