Following months of planning and preparation, six little orphaned elephants from Wild Is Life Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery were successfully relocated over 900km from Harare to Victoria Falls in a monumental once in a lifetime journey.

Working with Wild Is Life partner, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), six elephants – Jack, Johnnie, Marsie, Mana, Tessa and Amira were successfully moved to the IFAW-ZEN Project at Panda Masuie Forest. Following an incredible 19-hour journey across the country to join the 13 elephants of the resident herd, they’ll soon be joining bush walks and having interactions with wild herds. In time, and at their own pace, they will leave the IFAW-ZEN Project to live as fully wild elephants in a protected area.

Tessa, Mana, Amira and Johnnie were rescued from Mana Pools in 2019 where the effects of the drought that year were felt and seen most severely, and the shortage of food, combined with heat and lack of shade, led to the death of several lactating mothers during the period. Jack and Marsie were rescued orphans from Hwange National Park in 2018.

The Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery project focuses on creating a “culture of care” where orphaned and often traumatised elephant calves are given a second chance at a life in the wild. The rehabilitation process is a 3 to 5 year process where each individual elephant is given specialized care dependent on their specific individual needs. During this process, the elephants under care begin to form natural herds and begin the process of learning to adjust to a life in the wild.

Their new home in Panda Masuie Forest is 34,000ha concession within Forestry Land and is fully protected by a team of rangers, IFAW and the Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe. This successful relocation has been as a result of the incredible work being done by the Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery Project and IFAW, as well as the ongoing collaboration between public and private sector with regards to conservation efforts in the country. A huge congratulations to all those involved and for the ongoing work to get these orphaned elephants back into the wild where they belong.

This amazing endeavour is being documented by ImpactWild.

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