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Mataya is a tragic victim of Human Elephant Conflict.
At about 2 months old, Mataya was found alone and hurt on the banks of the Zambezi River in Zambia. With the help of David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, he now receives intensive support at the Elephant Nursery in Lusaka. Elephant Gin and Stairs Bar Berlin have teamed up to support Mataya by raising funds through a bespoke cocktail on the bar's menu. From every cocktail sold, Stairs Bar donates 5 € directly to efforts for Mataya's recovery, rehabilitation and eventual release to the wild.
At the end of February 2023, Mataya's mother and the rest of his herd was chased away from crop fields in the remote village of Mataya Unga alongside the Zambezi River. As with so many rural communities, subsistence living and the growing of crops is vital for their existence. However, the growing of maize attracts elephants, for whom it is such a favoured food, and often leads to Human-Elephant conflict.
The farmers and community members responded by chasing the elephants away, firing guns, throwing rocks and making noise to scare them off. In the commotion, Mataya became separated from his mother and in the aftermath of the conflict he was found alone. Enraged by the loss of so many crops one community member tried to kill the young calf for meat, attacking him with a machete. However other members of the community bravely rescued the calf and secured him in a safe location until the Zambian Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) rapid response unit arrived on the scene and brought him to the Game Rangers International Elephant Nursery funded and supported by David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation in Lusaka.
When Mataya arrived at the Elephant Nursery, he was so weak that he could not stand, his blood glucose levels were dangerously low, and he had sustained machete wounds during the conflict. He was traumatised, stressed and completely exhausted. It was a nerve-wracking night for the team as they attempted to ensure he consumed the life-saving milk he so desperately needed, balancing this with the need to rehydrate and rest. Thankfully after 12 hours of intensive support, Mataya managed to stand up and started showing a little more interest in his keeper and milk. At around two months old he is incredibly vulnerable and needs constant physical contact, specialist nutrition and veterinary support to survive.
With Stairs Bar's commitment, we are raising funds to support Mataya's recovery and eventual release back into the wild in Kafue National Park.