Thank you to all our “Wildlife Family and Friends” who responded to our last news letter and we raised $1600 towards the Tafika Appeal. I have given the funds to Anna and Steve – Chipembele. This went towards Tafika’s flight to Kafue (to the David Sheppard Elephant Orphanage) and towards his care while in Mfuwe.
Donations were received from…
Dave and Jane Groth
Gavin and Ann Whitfield
Diane M Blakeley
Patsy Hahn and of course Kyle, Byron and Tara
I will now pass on the email from Anna and Steve who looked after him so well.
I am very pleased to report to everyone who supported the Tafika Appeal that on Sunday 21st September he was moved to the Elephant Orphanage in Kafue National Park and it all went extremely well.
The team woke at 4am and started to prepare for an early morning move. After packing up the camp next to the elephant boma where the 3 keepers and scout have been living for a month, we waited the arrival of Rachel McRobb from SLCS (who rescued him in the first place and darted him to get him out of the pit he had fallen into), a ZAWA vet and a number of scouts to help with lifting the crate. At dawn he drank one last bottle of milk in his crate and was then sedated. It just made him a bit sleepy, but still standing and awake for the bumpy ride to the Airport.
He was lifted into the back of the truck and we arrived at the Airport after an hour and a quarter.
The pilot, Robbie, is a friend of ours, and has a lot of experience with handling animals as his family run a game farm in another part of Zambia, so we knew Tafika was in safe hands. We were really sad to see him go as he has been such a huge part of our lives during the past month, but we also knew the importance of him being with other elephants, as it so important for his welfare and development. Also we don’t have the resources for his long-term care! Sadly there were only 3 seats on the plane and I was unable to accompany him, but Rachel, the vet and Gift his keeper with whom he is closely bonded, were with him and I knew they had more of an important role to play than me.
The flight was 2 3/4 hours. He was apparently calm all the way. He was off-lifted at Ngoma Airport in Kafue National Park and onto the back of a Land Cruiser, then driven to the orphanage, a journey of about 25 minutes. He got out of his crate apparently un-phased by the whole journey. I think everyone else was far more stressed than him!
That afternoon, after a long rest, he was taken on a short walk to a pool and slept for a solid hour (a lot for elephants) with all his new keepers and management carers sitting around him. He ate grass and leaves on the walk, a healthy appetite always a being good sign after such an epic journey. He was then introduced to Chamilandu (female, 4 years) and Chodoba (male, 5 years) who are both orphaned elephants from South Luangwa that we also reared at Chipembele for a month each in 2007. Chodoba can be a bit of a rough male adolescent and everyone was slightly concerned about how he might react to a new introduction. After jumping back in surprise he was apparently then very gentle and they sniffed each other all over with their trunks. Chamilandu was even more affectionate, as was expected, and she shows all the signs of wanting to mother him. Rachel Murton, one of the hands-on managers, said it was a truly emotional time for everyone there.
Last night he was put into a secure stable, separated from Chamilandu on one side only by horizontal gum poles so they could touch each other through the gaps, and on the other side from one of his new keepers who slept there throughout the night, waking only to feed him every 3 hours.
I have also attached a few pictures of Tafika on his last afternoon bush walk at Chipembele, when some friends joined us for a swim with him in a nearby pool.
He seemed to thrive on our joy at being able to play with him in the water and loved every second of it. Precious moments, the memories of which will be with us forever.
Chipembele seems a much emptier place now. Although he was a tiny elephant his spirit was enormous. But we know Tafika is in the very best of hands and one day, in anywhere between 5 and 12 years, he should be a wild and free elephant once more. I will be in regular contact with the managers of the Orphanage and will let you know of his progress.
Thank you all once again for your generous donations and support, and for helping to make it all possible.
Warmest wishes Anna
I will keep everyone updated on his progress and hope to visit the orphanage in Kafue in November.
This month I have a great trip ahead of me. Having grown up in Zambia but being tied to the safari industry for the last 15 years has meant I have been running camps over the busy period. This of course co-insides with the dry season so when roads are open to travel I have not been able to leave camp. (plus having three children does restrict travel to a degree) I have flown to many places and now finally have a great road trip ahead of me. On the 1 October I am packing up my vehicle and heading North. I plan to visit the community camps on the way to the North Park, last year we had a training program with these camps and some of their staff came to us for a few weeks practical training. I will now have the time to visit them and see how I can help them further. More details in the next letter about these camps.
We will cross over and go to Buffalo Camp in the North Park for a few nights. Mark Harvey is an old friend and one of the legend guides. I have not walked in the North Park and look forward to seeing this area but do know the heat of October will restrict our walking times and of course be the perfect location for a few G&T’s..
I will then head up to the great north road and visit Shiwa Ng’andu. Kapishya hot springs and then head to one of my favourite places – Mutinondo. I am sure we will all enjoy the cool temperatures after the valley. I will then come down through the South Park and back into camp. I plan on doing this trip over 12 days and will be doing a write up on the roads, places to see etc and will have this on next months news letter.
So I leave the camp in the capable hands of Herman, Colleen, Dora and of course all our guides and staff and look forward to the road ahead.