It is an exciting time for the GRI-Elephant Orphanage Project (EOP) in Zambia, as their mission of releasing orphaned elephants back into the wild becomes more and more of a reality.
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Four of the older elephants, namely Chodoba (10.5 years old), Chamilandu (9.5yrs old), Batoka (7.5 yrs old) and Kafue (6 yrs old) are currently living mostly independently of the orphan herd and away from the Kafue Release Facility, located in Kafue National Park (KNP).
Their movements in the wild are closely monitored by satellite collar. Despite enjoying their new freedom, members of this “Release Herd” are still very bonded with the other orphans who have been their surrogate family for these past few years.
The elephants are continuing to strengthen these relationships with meetings in the park as well as near the release facility. The photo below captures one of these reunions that took place in the beginning of September.
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Chodoba and Batoka headed towards the other eight elephants after Chamilandu and Kafue had decided to join the younger orphans for a night inside the boma. The “4 Musketeers” as they are affectionately called, proceeded to lead all the orphans across the plains and they all spent a few hours grazing side by side before the Musketeers disappeared out of sight again to spend their day on their own schedule back in the wild where they belong.
Learn more about the Zambia Elephant Orphanage Project of Game Rangers International, which was established by the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, in close collaboration with the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) and IFAW.
Article source: IFAW