Baby elephant saved by crew Sun International

It was a complete surprise for the employees of the Sun International Falls Resort to find a wounded baby elephant by their fence. The little one had a nasty cut on its back, probably due to poaching activities.

A baby elephant is not something you find every day. But it happened to the crew of the Falls Resort and Convention Centre, which is located only moments from the Zambezi river with the dramatic torrent of the Victoria Falls as its natural backdrop. Situated in the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Wildlife Park, the resort incorporates the three-star Zambezi Sun and the more sophisticated five-star Royal Livingstone Hotel.

The Falls Resort normally isn’t equipped to shelter elephant baby’s, but the little giant could hardly walk due to the deep wound on its back. After the staff of Sun International decided to accommodate the special guest in the stables, the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) was immediately informed. ZAWA headquarters sent its veterinary doctor, Dr. Harvey Kamboi, to come and examine the young grey skin.

“It is very fortunate that the leg is not broken,“ doctor Kamboi said. But the leg was damaged in another way: “The cut was obtained on the spinal cord and the veins leading to the leg have been affected, The calf is on observation, but if the nerves are damaged it could lead to a permanent paralysis.”

It is believed that the elephant baby was attacked by poachers and sustained the deep wound on its back this way. The poaching of elephants for ivory, meat, hide and other elephant parts (mainly for use in traditional medicine) is still rampart in many countries across Africa. Despite worldwide protection through the Treaty of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) the value placed on elephant products, particularly ivory, the lack of effective enforcement and the remoteness of areas of elephant habitat means that there are those that still kill elephants for profit.

After spending a few days at Sun international, under special care of Kelvin from the Zambia Elephant Orphanage in Lusaka and having many visitors, Suni –as the little one was being named- was declared fit for travel.

A team of experts flew from Lusaka to the Falls Resort. Under their guidance Suni was carefully sedated and loaded onto a vehicle. The baby  elephant was transported to Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport and flown out on her own private charter, all the way to Lusaka where the Elephant Orphanage is situated.

Since early 2008, this orphanage has been built and developed by the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation. It all started with an elephant called Phoenix who was rescued by DSWF in February 2001 when, just weeks old, she was found trying to suckle from her dead mother. Against all the odds, Phoenix pulled through and became the catalyst of this exciting new project. Shortly after her successful release in the Kafue , Phoenix contracted bilary, previously unrecorded in elephants, and tragically died. The orphanage was named Camp Phoenix in her honour and her memory lives on through the successful rescue, rehabilitation and release of new orphans.

The crew at the Sun International Resort has been receiving daily updates on the condition of Suni. She is responding very well to the treatment. Her damaged leg is still an issue, but with daily care the Orphanage feels she will recover. At the orphanage, Suni  has made a new friend called Bezi, who is about her age.


This article is based on information of Sun International

More information about the Elephant Orphanage Zambia can be found on the DSWF-site

At the bottom of our homepage there is a video of the Orphanage






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