January 2016 news from GRI's conservation projects in Zambia
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New Orphaned Elephant Rescued in the Lower Zambezi

January brought a new addition to the orphan herd at the Lilayi Elephant Nursery when a young male was rescued from an island in the Lower Zambezi. 

The young elephant calf was first reported on 8 January and Ivan, Head Keeper  at the GRI - Elephant Orphanage Project (EOP) who was in the area could respond immediately. Thanks to the support from Kanyemba Lodge & Kanyemba Island Bush Camp and Muchichili Safari House, Ivan was able to access the island and determine that it was a milk dependant calf who had been alone on the island for up to two weeks, according to  reports from local fishermen. EOP decided to monitor the calf for a couple more days in case its herd would return. Ivan was ably assisted by two Wildlife Police Officers from the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW, formerly Zambia Wildlife Authority-ZAWA).

The EOP Rescue team was generously assisted with boats, staff and equipment from Kanyemba Lodge. The young elephant was found and sedated by a vet from DNPW. Then followed the labour intensive procedure of carrying the calf to the boat, which required the manpower of 10 people. Back at Kanyemba Lodge, even more manpower was required to carry the calf, still sedated, from the boat and up to a Land Cruiser, kindly provided by Conservation Lower Zambezi with the EOP rescue crate ready with browse for the journey. During the drive back to the Lilayi Elephant Nursery (LEN), the calf was calm and standing up the whole time. 

The calf is approximately 1½ years old. When he was rescued he was dehydrated and malnourished, and had exposed ribs, thin and patchy skin and warts on his trunk; all common symptoms for elephants in distress and poor health. He has been named Muchichili, which is the Goba word for Natal Mahogany, a tree that grows in abundance on the island where he was found.

Muchichili has quickly gained in strength and his health has improved significantly during the month since he was recued. He has quickly settled in at the LEN and is kindly sponsored by Muchichili Safari House in the Lower Zambezi. 


The first month of 2015, GRI – Kafue Conservation Project (KCP) could proudly review the results of 2015’s anti-poaching operations in Kafue National Park. That year, the Department of National Parks and Wildlife’s (DNPW, formerly ZAWA) Special Anti-Poaching Unit (SAPU) undertook a total of 3973 Man Patrol Days, which resulted in the apprehension of 160 poachers, the recovery of 94 firearms, 206 snares, 15 kg of ivory and 6010 kg of bush meat.
Apprentice Ranger Jo Moonga was accepted to the Southern African Wildlife College in South Africa and commenced his studies in January.

In January, KCP - Community Outreach and Education Department partnered with the Lusaka-based NGO ZEHRP to deliver a week-long workshop on sexual and reproductive health in the south of Kafue National Park. 18 individuals were trained as community mobilisers to go door-to-door to promote the sexual health services that are provided at the Basanga Health Clinic. A further 21 community members were trained as couples counselors and HIV testers. The new counselors tested over 60 couples in just one weekend and stocked the clinic with contraceptives. The counselors have since formed an action group and are meeting regularly to discuss how they can expand this highly valued service into other communities. 


In January GRI - Wildlife Crime Prevention Project (WCPP) received approval from the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW, previously ZAWA) to conduct a study into the illegal bushmeat trade in Zambia. The study will be conducted in partnership with Panthera and the Zambia Carnivore Programme with support from UN FAO. Two research assistants have been employed and have now commenced their fieldwork. The illegal bushmeat trade is one of the most acute threats to Zambia's vulnerable wildlife. Ungulates and other wildlife populations are being decimated by poaching for bushmeat, which is carried out using firearms but also wire snares which causes a horribly slow and painful death to the animals that are caught. Poaching for bushmeat affects all wildlife populations, especially predators such as lions, cheetahs and wild dog.
The results of the study will be published by the end of the year in collaboration with DNPW. Thanks to Komatsu who have provided support to this project. 

Over the last month, GRI – Zambia Primate Project (ZPP) conducted the final preparation of the temporary holding enclosures in Camp Mvula in Kafue National Park, where the primates are being held before their release back into the wild. ZPP also conducted health checks on the primates being rehabilitated in Munda Wanga Wildlife Sanctuary awaiting release. The primates due to be released were given ID’s and the release plans were finalised. 

In January, the GRI – Wildlife Veterinary Project (WVP) team strengthened its relations with Munda Wanga Wildlife Sanctuary in Lusaka. WVP is committed to work alongside Munda Wanga's staff and keepers and to collaborate on the improvement of enclosures, animal health and rescues. One of the first tasks was to relocate 13 porcupines to bigger and more natural enclosures and to train the staff to treat skin problems on several species. A fish eagle who had been shot by poachers in Liuwa Plains National Park was brought to Munda Wanga where it will receive treatment and care and hopefully recover and being able to fly again


Would you like to contribution to conservation and development and have a unique experience in Zambia? Through our volunteer programme Wild Zambia Volunteers you can join the GRI - Elephant Orphanage Project (EOP) or GRI - Kafue Conservation Project: Community Outreach and Education for a month and get an unforgettable experience in return.

For more information, please contact info@wildzambia.org 

Thank you!
Every month many people and organisations support us in different ways, enabling GRI to continue protecting the wildlife of Zambia. Thanks to all of our regular supporters and especially this month to:
To Ad-dicts for helping GRI advertise its projects.

To Olsen Animal Trust (OAT) who has come on board as highly valued partner of GRI and who is currently supporting both GRI - Kafue Conservation Project and GRI - Zambia Primate Project. They are also providing much needed support to administrative and logistical development within GRI. 

To KPMG who have commenced support to  GRI - Wildlife Crime Prevention Project's (WCPP) Lusaka based education program.

To Elephant Charge who is supporting GRI's education programme.
To Mudpackers for providing generous discount on tents for GRI.
To The Good Practice, 409 Kings Road, London who generously donated three blood-glucose monitors which were hand over to the Basanga Health Clinic in the Musungwa cheifdom Kafue National Park GMA.

To Maggie & Colin Williams for their generous donation to the Kafue Release Facility.

To Wild Zambia volunteer Valerie Downs for donating an entire football kit (shorts, shirt and socks) to the Kafue Release Facility team the "Chintumba Warriors".  
To Suzy and Jackie Jack for donating two sewing machines and materials to the Mukambi Women’s Group.
As always to all of our continuing donors including our major partners the David Shepherd Wildlife FoundationInternational Fund for Animal Welfare, Panthera, and The Nature Conservancy.

Kafue Conservation Project's work is being kindly supported by safari operators in Kafue National Park: Nanzhila Plains Safari Camp, WECSZ Kafwala Camp, Wilderness Safaris, Jeffery & McKeith Safaris, Kaingu Safari Lodge and Mukambi Safaris
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