Proflight Zambia and ProCharter joined forces to airlift Bupe, an 11-month-old baby elephant, to safety. Bupe, which translates to “Gift” in local dialects, was found alone in South Luangwa National Park, separated from his herd, likely due to Human-Elephant Conflict.
The rescue mission, executed with the support of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) and Conservation South Luangwa, aimed to provide Bupe with a new home and safeguard him from the dangers he faced alone in the wild.
Initially stabilized at Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust, Bupe was later relocated to the Elephant Nursery in Lusaka, thanks to the collaborative efforts of Game Rangers International, ProCharter, and Proflight Zambia.
Anna Tolan, Founder of Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust, expressed her gratitude for the collaborative effort, stating, “To be able to do this just means the world to us.”
The coordinated initiative reflects a commitment to wildlife conservation and the wellbeing of individual animals, emphasizing the significance of each rescued species.
Bupe’s journey from Mfuwe International Airport to Kyindu Game Ranch in Lusaka was facilitated by ProCharter’s Cessna Grand Caravan, ensuring a swift and stress-free transfer for the young elephant.
Dr Lengwe Mwansa Bwalya, DNPW Wildlife Vet, highlighted the importance of such rescue missions, emphasizing the value of safeguarding at-risk wildlife.
Sebastian Matla, the pilot responsible for Bupe’s flight, expressed his delight, stating, “It was amazing flying Bupe, and I am glad it was a good and safe flight for him. We are happy to help out.”
The final leg of the flight included a breathtaking descent over Kyindu Game Ranch, where Bupe was warmly welcomed by caretakers.
David Oliver Munyama, Head Keeper of the GRI Elephant Nursery, thanked ProCharter and Proflight for their ongoing support in rescue operations.
He emphasized the significance of Bupe’s arrival at the park, stating, “We are very happy to have Bupe here because this is where he should be for now.”
Bupe’s journey is not just a rescue story; it symbolizes a collective effort to protect and conserve Zambia’s incredible wildlife.
Captain Josias Walubita, Director of Flight Operations at Proflight Zambia, noted, “Proflight Zambia and ProCharter are honored to have played a part in this extraordinary rescue mission, reflecting our unwavering commitment to wildlife conservation.”
Bupe’s future holds hope, with plans for his return to the wild. The story of his rescue serves as an inspiration, fostering a sense of compassion and responsibility toward the planet’s incredible wildlife.
Those interested in following Bupe’s journey can visit him at the GRI Wildlife Discovery Centre in Lusaka National Park, where educational displays and activities showcase the importance of wildlife conservation.
This airlift marks the 13th elephant orphan flown since the establishment of the Elephant Orphanage in 2008, demonstrating the continuous dedication to the welfare of Zambia’s wildlife.