Caring for Nkala

Written By: The Lowdown - Oct• 31•13

2013-10-cover smallNkala, the latest elephant calf to join the nursery herd at the Elephant Orphanage Project (EOP) at Lilayi, was rescued from Kafue National Park area.


Nkala was discovered by the local community alone and distressed amongst their cattle after his herd had visited the village and the cattle had stampeded.  The little chap got left behind in the mayhem that followed.  When search teams could not find his herd, the local community, having heard about the Elephant Orphanage on the local community radio, insisted that ZAWA contact them.


Game Rangers International (GRI) and ZAWA units were mobilised  swiftly and with the help and cooperation of ZAWA, and especially Area Warden Moonga, a very tired, thirsty and hungry Nkala was transported first to Camp Phoenix in KNP and then on to Lilayi. The transfer to Lilayi was done with the very generous help of Royal Air Charters and support from the ZAWA Ngoma Unit, Itezhi Tezhi District Commissioner and UNZA vet Dr Haachilala. On arrival at Lilayi, Nkala ventured out into the boma area to investigate his new surroundings.


Due to his young age Nkala is highly vulnerable but seems to have adjusted to the massive changes in his short life: losing his mother and family, as well as adapting to a new diet of the nutrient rich milk formula which the orphans are fed.  This is an essential life saving formula but it will never be quite like his mother’s milk. Often the young elephants struggle to adapt to the change in their diet. Nkala initially showed signs of depression and was not socialising well and keeping to himself, but he is now becoming an active member of the Nursery herd.


A visit to the Elephant Orphanage is indeed a moving experience.  They are open daily from 11.30 am when you can see Nkala and the other orphans drinking their milk and mud-bathing. As the weather has warmed so has their interest in cooling off in the red mud so it is a real treat to witness. GRI and the EOP is 100% donor funded and whilst they do not charge for the elephant viewing experience they do rely heavily on donations. Nkala’s rescue could not have been achieved without the help of the Nkala community, ZAWA Area Warden Mr Moonga, Ecologist Mr Chifunte and WPO’s, Dr Mutinta Haachilala, Rob Stacey and Royal Air Charters, Brendan Raisbeck and all at LILAYI, the Miller family, GRI staff and volunteers and all the other supporters who have been involved with this rescue. Nkala is fostered by Travelport Zambia Limited.


For more information on our Foster an Elephant Scheme please contact



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