Baby elephant ‘Bupe’ joins orphan herd after being abandoned by mum

Bupe the elephant has been united with his new family who will support him in his journey back to the wild.

Baby elephant ‘Bupe’ joins orphan herd after being abandoned by mum
Bupe the elephant inside a plane and people helping to rescue him
Bupe was transported by airplane to his new herd (Picture: Game Rangers International)

A baby elephant endured nearly two hours on a flight so he could be rehomed with an orphaned herd after his mum abandoned him.

Bupe the elephant will now be able to ‘forge new friendships’ with the herd, who will become his ‘siblings and support network’ as he builds a life with his new family.

Game Rangers International led on Bupe’s rescue after he was left alone in Zambia.

He needed round-the-clock care from Game Rangers keeper, Matthews, when he was first found but started to make a good recovery and heal from his traumas quickly.

In a statement, Game Rangers International said: ‘He was consuming all milk bottles and putting back on lost condition, his wounds were healing well, and he had formed a good bond and gained trust in Matthews.’

Following a check from vet Dr Lengwe, the green light was then given for Bupe to be transferred to Lusaka Elephant Nursery to begin his new life.

Bupe the baby elephant lying on the floor as a person puts water on him
Bupe was abandoned by his mother (Picture: Game Rangers International/Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust – CWET)
Bupe the elephant sniffs at a cage with people standing around
Bupe ended up in a good place despite having a difficult start in life (Picture: Game Rangers International)

The decision was made to fly the baby elephant to the nursery as it would be the least stressful way for him to travel.

Global aviation and logistics company ProCharter were chosen to organise Bupe’s flight as they had already flown 12 other elephants previously.

With Matthews by his side, Bupe walked comfortably into the loading crate ready to start his journey.

The crate was then driven to Mfuwe Airport where he would be catching his flight.

Procharter plane ready for take-off
Bupe went willing into his crate to get ready for his flight (Picture: Game Rangers International)
Game Rangers International 7 November at 14:10 ? After two weeks of around-the-clock-care by Keeper Matthews and our friends at Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust - CWET little Bupe was recovering from his traumas really well. He was consuming all milk bottles and putting back on lost condition, his wounds were healing well, and he had formed a good bond and gained trust in Matthews. After a health check from DNPW Vet Dr Lengwe, he was given the green light for transfer to the Lusaka Elephant Nursery. In order to minimise the stress of travel, and because he is still so small, at only 10 months old, we were able to fly Bupe to the Nursery with huge thanks from long term supporters at Pro-Charter (this is the 13th orphaned elephant they have now flown). With Matthews at his side, Bupe walked comfortably into the loading crate, which was then driven to Mfuwe Airport. Dr Lengwe escorted Bupe and gave him a mild sedation to help reduce anxiety throughout the journey and Matthews was always close to hand. After 1 hour 45 minutes of flying, and without any challenges, the plane touched down at Kaindu Airstrip, which is only minutes away from Lusaka National Park, where it was all hands-on deck to off-load this 350kg (Bupe plus crate) precious cargo! Once inside the rescue trailer he was driven the short distance to the Nursery and the trailer door was opened. After experiencing such a significant journey Bupe was nervous and hesitant to leave the trailer, but a bottle of warm milk was all the encouragement he needed, and he readily stepped out and into this new stable and home. Here at the Nursery Bupe will really be able to make progress in his recovery as he forges new friendships with the orphaned herd, who will become his siblings and support network as he embarks on the long journey back to the wild where he belongs. Together we can make a difference! Please consider donating today to help Bupe and the other orphans on their journey back to the wild where they belong. Donate here: www.gamerangersinternational.org/donate Bupe?s journey to the Elephant Nursery was made possible with thanks to our incredible partners, including the Department of National Parks & Wildlife, ifaw Olsen Animal Trust, David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust - CWET, Procharter, Conservation South Luangwa - CSL and Kaindu Ranch.
The flight lasted one hour and 45 minutes and all went well (Picture: Game Rangers International)

The Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust confirmed Dr Lengwe gave Bupe a mild sedation to help reduce any anxiety he might feel on the journey – and he also had Matthews with him at all times to help calm him.

The plane touched down at Kaindu Airstrip after one hour and 45 minutes of flying and then it was all hands on deck to get Bupe off the flight. Bupe plus his crate weighed 350kg.

The elephant was then transferred to a rescue trailer, driven the short distance to the nursery and the door was opened.

Bupe the elephant being lifted into a van
Bupe went willing into his crate to get ready for his flight (Picture: Game Rangers International)
Game Rangers International 7 November at 14:10 ? After two weeks of around-the-clock-care by Keeper Matthews and our friends at Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust - CWET little Bupe was recovering from his traumas really well. He was consuming all milk bottles and putting back on lost condition, his wounds were healing well, and he had formed a good bond and gained trust in Matthews. After a health check from DNPW Vet Dr Lengwe, he was given the green light for transfer to the Lusaka Elephant Nursery. In order to minimise the stress of travel, and because he is still so small, at only 10 months old, we were able to fly Bupe to the Nursery with huge thanks from long term supporters at Pro-Charter (this is the 13th orphaned elephant they have now flown). With Matthews at his side, Bupe walked comfortably into the loading crate, which was then driven to Mfuwe Airport. Dr Lengwe escorted Bupe and gave him a mild sedation to help reduce anxiety throughout the journey and Matthews was always close to hand. After 1 hour 45 minutes of flying, and without any challenges, the plane touched down at Kaindu Airstrip, which is only minutes away from Lusaka National Park, where it was all hands-on deck to off-load this 350kg (Bupe plus crate) precious cargo! Once inside the rescue trailer he was driven the short distance to the Nursery and the trailer door was opened. After experiencing such a significant journey Bupe was nervous and hesitant to leave the trailer, but a bottle of warm milk was all the encouragement he needed, and he readily stepped out and into this new stable and home. Here at the Nursery Bupe will really be able to make progress in his recovery as he forges new friendships with the orphaned herd, who will become his siblings and support network as he embarks on the long journey back to the wild where he belongs. Together we can make a difference! Please consider donating today to help Bupe and the other orphans on their journey back to the wild where they belong. Donate here: www.gamerangersinternational.org/donate Bupe?s journey to the Elephant Nursery was made possible with thanks to our incredible partners, including the Department of National Parks & Wildlife, ifaw Olsen Animal Trust, David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust - CWET, Procharter, Conservation South Luangwa - CSL and Kaindu Ranch.
Soon after his flight landed he was released to be with his new family (Picture: Game Rangers International)
Bupe the elephant eating greenery
The baby elephant will now be able to make friends with his new herd (Picture: Game Rangers International)

The trust said in a statement: ‘After experiencing such a significant journey Bupe was nervous and hesitant to leave the trailer, but a bottle of warm milk was all the encouragement he needed, and he readily stepped out and into this new stable and home.

‘Here at the nursery Bupe will really be able to make progress in his recovery as he forges new friendships with the orphaned herd, who will become his siblings and support network as he embarks on the long journey back to the wild where he belongs.’

Game Rangers International gave thanks to the organisations that helped to make Bupe’s rescue and journey as smooth as possible for the baby elephant.

You can donate to this cause via Game Rangers International.

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