“The baby elephant started crying”: A heartbroken orphaned baby elephant cried for several hours on the plane after his mother and family were no more.

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 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.


Bupe went willing into his crate to get ready for his flight (Picture: Game Rangers International)

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 went willing into his crate to get ready for his flight (Picture: Game Rangers International)

Soon after his flight landed he was released to be with his new family (Picture: Game Rangers International)

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.