This week is my daughter’s birthday so I felt compelled to write about an animal organization since my daughter loves animals. At a festival one summer, I rode an elephant with my daughter. We got on to the saddle and held on for a short ride in a circle. Just before the end of the ride, we passed the other elephant, who reached his trunk into the air and wiped it against my arm. My daughter still tells the story of the time an elephant wiped his nose on her mommy. Today’s organization is making a difference for these large creatures.
Jenny Webb has always loved animals and she has been rescuing animals since she was a child. In recent years, she volunteered at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre, an organization that works toward releasing injured wild animals, especially primates, back into the wild. Jenny has also brought injured animals to their facility to be nursed back to health.
In February 2012 she received a call from a friend to say there was a four day old elephant calf that had been orphaned and was in desperate need of care. No facilities in Malawi were able to take care of this little elephant due to the high level of care he required, the cost, and the small chance of success, so Jenny agreed to take the elephant, named Moses, herself. Due to this one orphaned baby elephant and the absence of facilities in the country to take are of large orphaned or injured wildlife led her to form the Jumbo Foundation Elephant Orphanage. Larger animals including elephants, rhinos, buffalo, and hippos require more funds to rehabilitate, very personalized care, and a quiet stress free environment.
Moses spent his nights in Jenny’s home sleeping on her floor and his days in the garden area of the property with either Jenny or his two keepers, Matimat and Jim. Baby elephants cannot be left alone because they require bottle feedings every two hours and require warmth and protection from the sun that a mother elephant would typically provide for the first year of their life. Unfortunately, Moses died after living with them for nine months. You can read posts about Moses on the organization’s blog or watch a video here (note that some videos contain some graphic images).
The Jumbo Foundation Elephant Orphanage’s mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and return to the wild orphaned and injured large wild animals. They are located outside of Lilongwe, Malawi in Central Africa. They have also built up a close working relationship with other elephant orphanages in Zambia, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe to share knowledge of animal husbandry, milk formulas, veterinary care, and more. They also have close working relationships with highly acclaimed wildlife vets in Zambia, Kenya and the United States who are on call 24 hours a day for veterinary advice.
If elephant poaching continues at the same rate as 2011, wild elephants will become extinct within 12 to 15 years. Elephants are emotional creatures and when babies are left to die in the bush, it results in a very traumatic and terrifying death. You can learn more about elephants and their emotions on The Jumbo Foundation website or from the Unforgettable Elephants documentary from Nature.
Volunteering with orphaned elephants is not recommended since they form strong emotional bonds with their keepers. Also, the elephants need to retain their natural fear of humans to ensure they will still run away from poachers. However, you can still help.
- You can find options to make a monetary donation on the Jumbo Foundation website.
- You can also find a wish list on their website of other items they need for the care of the animals or for the building of their new barn.
- You can purchase art of Moses the elephant to help support their program.