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Lilayi Elephant Orphanage - Lusaka

If you are visiting Lusaka and are at a loss as to what to do, why not take a visit to the Lilayi Elephant Orphanage. Here you will be able to watch the elephant orphans being fed by their keepers, and then as they wander around the enclosure, playing in the mud and interacting with one another. Please note that visitors are not allowed to pet the elephants at all.

The Elephant Orphanage Project offers sanctuary for abandoned and defenceless elephant calves. These magnificent creatures have had to witness the disruption/destruction of their herd, caused by poaching or other human conflicts. As a result these animals are incredibly traumatized and if left in the wild they would die.

Game Rangers International started the Elephant Orphanage Project in 2007 with the opening of the Kafue Release Facility. With the increasing numbers of baby elephants, and their increasing medical needs, GRI opened the Lilayi Elephant Nursery in 2012 to look after the smaller calves.

As very small calves, these elephants are incredibly vulnerable and dependent on their mothers. Without them, many do not survive. At the nursery, these fragile animals are cared for around the clock, being fed special milk formula every three hours. They are cared for by highly trained keepers who watch over them constantly.

As soon as the calves can be weaned from milk, they are relocated to the Kafue Release Facility. In March this year, two of the orphaned elephants, Zambezi and Musolole, were moved there, together with their keepers, who will remain with them until they have been accepted into the herd. It seems that they are doing well and are happy.

At the Lilayi Nursery, there are currently only two elephants, Nkala who is 3 years old, and Muchichili who is just over 1 ½.

Nkala was found in June 2013 by the local community of Nkala in the GMA in Kafue. He was discovered alone and distressed after a herd of elephants had passed through a village. He was only 3 months old. With the constant care that he received at the nursery, Nkala has grown into an active and playful ellie, after forming close bonds with his keepers and the other young calves.

Muchichili was rescued from an island in Lower Zambezi in January this year. When he was found, he was emaciated and stressed. He is now flourishing at the nursery, putting on weight and settling in well.  Muchi has been reliant on his keepers for comfort, and with their support he will overcome the loss of his family and begin to enjoy a new freedom amongst his surrogate family. 

How to get there:

The Lilayi Elephant Nursery is located 12km south of Lusaka. You turn down the Lilayi road and it is well sign posted from there. The facility is open to the public every day from 11:30 till 13:00.

Entrance fee is K50 per adult and K20 per child over 12. Younger children are free.

WHY NOT ADOPT AN ELEPHANT?

You can help GRI - Elephant Orphanage Project by adopting one of the orphaned elephants in our care. For only $65 you can become an adoptive parent for a year. You will receive a certificate and regular updates about "your" elephant. Your support will go directly towards helping us look after these vulnerable orphans so that they can be released back into the wild where they belong.

For more information, please contact gabriel@gamerangersinternational.org

 

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