I have just returned from Zambia where I was visiting 2 great projects that OAT has been supporting for a few years now:
Elephant Orphanage Project (EOP), who rescue and rehabilitate orphaned elephants (mainly victims of poaching and human wildlife conflict) and the Zambia Primate Project (ZPP) who rescue and rehabilitate primates that have been illegally held captive as pets, for bush meat or are destined for the pet trade. Both organisations work tirelessly to rescue, rehabilitate and release these animals back into the wild.
Travelling with me on this trip was Johan Joubert & Megan Sinclair. Johan is the Director of Wildlife & senior vet at Shamwari Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape – South Africa and Megan is his senior vet nurse and assistant.
Although Shamwari already have a sophisticated veterinary unit for critically injured and sick wildlife, they are in the process of building a new Rescue, Rehabilitation & Soft Release facility for animals that need minor medical assistance with minimum human interaction before being prepared for release. OAT and friends of OAT have contributed towards the building of this new facility which is scheduled for completion in April this year. In the spirit of collaboration, we thought it would be a good idea to introduce Johan and Megan to the rescue, rehabilitation and re-wilding projects we support in Zambia so that they can share knowledge and establish contact for the future.
Our first stop was EOP’s Lilayi Elephant Nursery facility in Lusaka where young orphans spend the first few years of their rehabilitation process. Thereafter we travelled to Camp Phoenix, the soft release facility in Kafue National Park, where the elephants progress for the next stage of their rehabilitation.
Here is a very cute video of the youngest eles coming into the Lilayi Nursery boma for their morning milk after a morning of grazing in the bush…
After our time with EOP we went on to meet the ZPP team at their re-wilding and release facility for primates, also located within Kafue National Park.
This trip was a huge success and the Shamwari veterinary team learned a great deal from both EOP and ZPP. We couldn’t have been happier with the outcome, as not only will Shamwari’s wild and injured animals benefit from this trip, but all three parties have now established contact and will be able to share knowledge and experience going forward. A big thank to EOP and ZPP for being so helpful, willing and hospitable. A big thank you to to Mukambi Lodge for accommodating us all and making us so welcome.
A few more pics from our trip 😉