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Tafika arrives at the EOP

By: EOP Posted: October-07-2009 in
Unloading Tafika took 8 people!

Tafika (meaning ‘to arrive’) is the newest elephant to join the Elephant Orphanage Project in Kafue National Park. He was rescued on the 19th August 2009 when he became isolated from his herd having fallen into a village long-drop pit! Thanks to the quick response of Rachel McRobb, the South Luangwa Conservation Society and ZAWA Officers Tafika was hauled out and transported locally to the Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust (and wildlife rehabilitation facility), run by Steve and Anna Tolan, where his initial care was provided.

After spending a one month 'quarantine' period at the Chipembele facility Tafika was given the 'all clear' by ZAWA vets and was flown to the EOP in Kafue National Park on 20th September - We are extremely grateful to Proflight for assisting with Tafika's translocation and our sincere thanks and appreciation goes to the generous donors of this flight: the Supporters of the Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust and Mark Burton. We are also extremely grateful to Toyota Zambia who donated a Land Cruiser to the project with reinforced suspension, which was essential for the final leg of Tafika’s journey to the EOP.

Tafika was slightly sedated and remained surprisingly calm for the whole journey, even drinking milk whilst in flight! Many thanks to Dr Matandiko, ZAWA Head Vet, and Rachel McRobb who travelled with Tafika to monitor his welfare and condition throughout the journey.

It was a very special moment when Tafika first joined Chodoba and Chamilandu! Tafika was elated to be reunited with elephant kin and there were many low rumbling sounds of communication and affection, and lots of touching with trunks accompanied by smelling of each other. Both Chodoba and Chamilandu were clearly very excited to see another little ele. In particular Chamilandu (now 4 years old) became a doting 'mother' straight away. She is incredibly affectionate and caring for him and they are now always together. Chamilandu encourages him on walks, teaches him which food types to eat and even assists his trunk strength and development by playing 'tug a trunk'! Despite being much bigger (at 5 years old) and sometimes quite pushy even Chodoba knows to be careful around this new little addition to the herd, and we have seen him display some very gentle and tolerant behaviour.

Tafika is approximately one year old and at this stage in his development requires a great deal of resource and high level care. Our dedicated team of Elephant Keeper’s work around the clock to monitor his health and behaviour, and provide essential milk feeds every three hours! The EOP is non-profit charity, funded completely by generous donations.

Tafika is quite a character and wants to be the centre of attention at all times, if you are visiting South Kafue National Park, please feel free to stop by the Elephant Orphanage Project and check on his progress with the other ele's. Seeing them together fills us all with hope that his new surrogate family will give him the comfort and reassurance he so desperately needs to overcome the tragic separation from his own herd. Here at the EOP they will teach him all the valuable skills that he will need to become a wild elephant again one day!


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