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Project information

Saving elephant orphans in Zambia

To rescue, rehabilitate and release elephants orphaned as a direct result of poaching in the Kafue National Park. Lessons learnt in the care of the orphans will add to our understanding of the life and habitat of this iconic species and will assist conservation projects elsewhere.


Charity information: David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation logo
  • Need


    During the poaching wars of 70s and 80s, 90% of Zambia's elephants were slaughtered and, whilst numbers showed signs of recovery, in recent years there is evidence to suggest that illegal poaching has begun again.
    The slaughter leaves behind young orphans whose prospects of survival are remote, without human intervention. Illegal poaching not only destroys the adult elephant population, but threatens the next generation as well and with that the survival of the species in Zambia.


    The elephant orphanage and new nursery facility provides the expert care needed to rehabilitate orphaned baby elephants before their re-release into the wild.
    These facilities not only save the lives of these young elephants but serve as a focal point for local communities to learn more about the importance of the elephant to their wildlife heritage in Zambia. Through this process of conservation, outreach and education the future for the elephant in Zambia looks a litte brighter.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To rehabilitate young elephants orphaned through poaching


    » The project team responds to calls to help young elephants in need providing the necessary resources to effect their rescue and rehabilitation

    What success will look like

    Success will be.the survival of young elephants and their re-release into the wild

    Aim 2

    To protect the Kafue National Park from the activities of poachers.


    » The project team works with local game wardens to patrol key elephant territory in Kafue to serve as a deterrent to poachers.

    What success will look like

    Success will be...a reduction in levels of illegal poaching and in the number of human/elephant conflicts

    Aim 3

    To educate the local communities on the value of their wildlife heritage.


    » Work with educators and outreach workers in schools and local communities to raise awareness of the need for conservation initiatives in their area.

    What success will look like

    Success will be greater awaress of conservation issues and increased support for project initiatives in and around Kafue National Park.

  • Impact


    Ultimately a reduction in poaching and a growing elephant population in Zambia.
    An improved understanding of the lifecycle and habitat of the elephant as well as the development of a database,cataloguing key aspects of infant care.
    Together with the Zambian wildlife authorities, the Foundation will continue to monitor elephant numbers, whilst success in park protection will reduce the number of elephants killed by poachers. Advances in infant care should improve survival rates for orphans.


    A lack of funds threatens the ongoing maintenance of the project.
    The Foundation mitigates this through a range of marketing and PR iniatives. The field team also conduct their own fundraising initiatives to foster local support.
    Another risk is the loss of an elephant orphan to poachers during the rehabilitation process.
    The project ensures that each orphan is monitored as closely as the care process allows and funds park protection initiatives throughout the region.


    The Foundation receives regular updates from the Project Manager at the elephant orphanage and these can be passed directly to donors or incorporated into a Foundation report template at appropriate intervals. The Foundation website and newsletter, Wildlife Matters, also carry project updates.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £61,920

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £30,840 Camp overheads Running costs for the orphanage, including salaries, equipment and admin support
      £7,080 Elephant overheads Food, veterinary care and equipment
      £12,000 Community outreach Wages, fuelm admin and training materials
      £12,000 Centre admin Wages, accommodation, fuel and marketing
  • Background


    The Kafue National Park in Zambia - the second largest park in Africa and one of the most pristine wildlife habitats for elephants in Zambia


    Immediately - young elephants and, in time, the elephant population in Zambia.
    Local communities will also benefit from a greater understanding of their wildlife heritage.
    Both the orphanage and nursery facilities have the potential to form part of an eco tourism initiative planned for the region and with tourism comes money and employment for the local communities. Their potential as a "visitor attraction" will help to spread the conservation message, whilst raising money for the project.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation has worked tirelessly to save endangered wildlife since its establishment in 1984,and, through its partnership with experts in the field, has achieved significant results..
    Lean administration allows the majority of funding received by the Foundation to go to its projects and, despite its small size, the Charity has been voted one of the most popular wildlife charities in the UK.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Rachael Murton - Partner Project Manager

    Rachael manages the elephant orphanage in conjunction with a number of local staff, reporting through to a local board of trustees.

Tafika loves his keeper

Tafika loves his keeper


will pay for elephant food for one month

When I first visited Zambia in the early 60s, it was home to 250000 elephants. Today fewer than 25,000 survive

David Shepherd CBE