Located at Lilayi Lodge Lusaka, Zambia, the Elephant Nursery is part of the 650 hectare game park and looks after orphaned elephants in their earliest years before moving to another rehabilitation center for interaction with wilder elephants and eventual release into the Kafue National Park.
One of the elephants, Suni (top left), uses a brace on her back right leg and suffers from a limp as a result of a poaching attempt. She was found with a badly injured leg and an axe embedded in her spine. Despite this, she is one of the faster runners when she has her leg brace on.
One of the younger elephants at the nursery cuddles up to keeper Oliver.
There is a team of locally employed keepers who care for and constantly watch over the elephants, even sitting by the stables at night. When they can be weaned from their specially prepared milk that they are given every three hours, they are ready to be moved to the Kafue national Park to join other, older orphaned elephants ant the Kafue Release Facility. There they are more independent of human support and as the facility backs onto the Ngoma Teak Forest which has a wild elephant population in excess of 1,000, their chance to reintegrate are significantly increased.
The Lilayi Elephant Nursery was officially opened by the Vice President of Zambia, Dr Guy Scott on 29th September 2012 and has free viewing to all.