Kavala’s Adventure: Moving from the Nursery to the National Park!
Last month Elephantopia completed an Indiegogo Campaign, raising funds for an orphaned elephant in Zambia at the Game Rangers International Elephant Orphanage Project. Here’s an update from the project and Kavala.
First of all, did you know that there are only two elephant orphanages in all of Africa aimed at saving victims of poaching and human-elephant-conflict (HEC), rehabilitating them, and releasing them back into the wild? With the current rate of poaching, approximately one elephant every 15 minutes is killed. This means the need for organizations like GRI Elephant Orphanage Project is critical. Elephantopia is excited to be partnering with this organization to care for Kavala.
Kavala’s full name is Kavalamanja. She was given her name after the area she was found. Her approximate date of birth is October 2010 - her mother was shot by poachers in 2011. Zambian wildlife authorities found the mother’s body with tiny spoor (droppings) surrounding her, but there was no calf to be seen. Three weeks later a weak an emaciated elephant orphan was spotted in the area on the banks of the Zambezi River in Rufunsa GMA. At approximately 10 months old, Kavala was in desperate need of milk formula but had managed to survive on vegetation throughout that time. She had an abscess on her knee and many infected sores all over her body due to her malnourished and immune suppressed condition. However, with the right diet and combination of treatments and care Kavala healed rapidly and is now a confident and boisterous youngster. She is one of the oldest orphans at Lilayi Elephant Nursery.
This past month, on June 9, 2014, Kavala and her best friend Maramba, were moved from Lilayi Elephant Nursery to the Kafue Release Facility. The journey from Lilayi to Kafue took just over 10 hours and the elephants were supervised by ZAWA vet Dr. David Square, wildlife vet Mutinta Haachilala, and the elephant keepers Ivan Katongomala and Foster Sitali. The vehicle stopped regularly during the long journey so that the elephants could be check on and fed. Although they were both mildly sedated, the elephants did not seem perturbed by the roads and only started their rumbling close to normal feed times.
Once they arrived, Kavala (now about 3.5 years old) was the first to venture out of the truck and take her first step inside Kafue National Park. Maramba (now 4 years old) closely followed her and they both spent their first night together in the stables to recover from the day’s adventure.
First thing Tuesday morning, June 10, Kavala and Maramba were introduced to the rest of the herd: the matriarch Chamilandu was the first to check out Kavala and Maramba. She welcomed them to their new herd and within a few hours, Kavala was relaxed, enjoying her new surroundings and family.
Do you want to help a victim of the ivory trade? Please join with us to care for Kavala. JOIN THE HERD, donate today and please invite a friend! Or send us a note below for details on ways to get involved.