Resilience and Renewal: Two Baby Elephants Flourish After dгаmаtіс Rescues in Zimbabwe

In Zimbabwe’s arid and unforgiving savannah, the odds were stacked against two orphaned baby elephants, Kadiki and Bumi. Kadiki’s tragic encounter with a lion at just one day old left her with deep claw wounds on her trunk and extensive damage to her tail.

Meanwhile, Bumi, a one-month-old calf, suffered severe sunburn after getting trapped among rocks.

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Their grim situations changed when seasoned animal rescuer Roxy Danckwerts, founder of the Wild Is Life charity and the Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery (ZEN), stepped in to provide care.

Under Danckwerts’ dedicated care, Kadiki and Bumi found refuge at the Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery, the country’s sole sanctuary for baby elephants.

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Supported by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the nursery near Harare became a haven for the young calves.

Despite the initially challenging conditions, both elephants have made remarkable strides in their journey to recovery.

Kadiki, named ‘the little one’ in the local Shona language, underwent surgery to amputate part of her tail and received treatment for her trunk.

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Despite being only ten days old, she has shown resilience, moving around despite being on a drip.

Once unrecognizable from his initial arrival, Bumi now boasts a playful and mischievous personality, enjoying activities like playing with tires.

The fate of their mothers remains unknown, a common plight for elephant calves exposed to various dangers such as drought, poaching, accidental falls, separation from herds, or predator attacks.

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The collaboration between Wild Is Life-ZEN and IFAW, the first of its kind in Zimbabwe, opens up new possibilities for these rescued elephants.

They now have the chance to roam safely with other herds in a vast forest reserve, protected from poaching or hunting.

While the original sanctuary herd continues to learn essential skills for survival in the wild, nine elephants have already started the rewilding process.

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Transported to Panda-Masuie, an 86,000-acre forest reserve near Victoria Falls, these elephants mark a significant step in securing the future of this former hunting ground.

Roxy Danckwerts, with her experience in rescuing over 20 elephants in the past five years, emphasizes the importance of collaboration for long-term conservation.

She hopes that Moyo, the first orphan elephant she rescued, will take on a maternal role for Kadiki and Bumi.

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The goal is for these young elephants to spend up to two years at the nursery before transferring to Panda-Masuie, preparing to integrate into wild herds.

Jimmiel Mandima of IFAW highlights the incredible relationships between animals and humans, showcasing the progress made by traumatized and damaged elephants.

The Panda-Masuie reserve, with its secure corridor, not only aids the rescued elephants but also disrupts traditional poaching routes, providing protection for these animals and others along the way.

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