Giving orphaned baby elephants a chance in life
Since 2007, elephant
populations in continental Africa
have declined by
which makes more than 100,000 elephant.
In February 2016 a newborn elephant was rescued and brought to the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC) in South Africa. Sadly, Amanzi, as he was named, died shortly afterwards from malnutrition. When his mother was killed by poachers for her tusks, he no longer had his protector, nor her milk.
To prevent this from happening again, HESC will work with Elephants Alive and several veterinarians to develop a milk formula for baby elephants. This will be done by biochemically analysing elephant milk samples and developing an organic synthesis of a milk product. The product will then be patented so that the commercial sale of the product will cover the manufacturing costs.
It is becoming increasingly important to have a suitable formula to nourish baby elephants. Sadly, because the illegal ivory trade is growing year on year, the number of elephants
slaughtered for their tusks keeps growing. It is becoming quite common to find baby elephants left alone in the wild.
“It is an abomination that these majestic animals are hunted down and slaughtered, often leaving behind orphaned animals in a state of distress,” said Christopher Parker, Oak Trustee. “This project complements the goal of the Illegal Wildlife Trade Programme well, as it will help to save the lives of orphaned elephants. I commend HESC for taking the initiative to solve this
problem and ensure both rhino and elephant orphans are helped to survive. At this point, the life of every elephant counts.”
In September 2016, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature announced in its recent African Elephant Status report that elephant populations have seen the worst decline in more than 25 years. The population has declined throughout Africa by a third – more than 100,000 elephants – since 2007.
HESC ensures the treatment and rehabilitation of wild animals in need and has successfully reared a number of orphaned rhino. It has also surgically treated adult rhino whose horns had been removed.
“We hope that by developing a milk product full of the nutrients a baby elephant needs, we will give hope to a new generation of elephants and rhino in this era of intensive poaching,” says Adine Roode from HESC. “Poaching is bringing these species ever closer to the brink of extinction, but at least we can give a chance to their orphaned, abandoned offspring.”
Source: Oak Foundation Annual Report
Year of publication: 2016