WILD IS LIFECharity Partner
Wild Is Life is an animal sanctuary and elephant nursery in Zimbabwe. It accepts all kinds of orphaned, sick, injured or vulnerable animals and cares for them in a holistic and dignified way. Where possible, the animals are released back to safe wild areas when they are ready to do so. If not, they live at the sanctuary enjoying a safe and peaceful life.

Founded by Roxy Danckwerts, Wild is Life today looks after over 100 animals, with more than 15 different species currently living at their sanctuary. Some of the organisation’s most recent rescues include elephants, an animal that has led them into a whole new realm of animal rescue and rehabilitation operations via the opening of the the Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery—in partnership with Zimbabwe National Parks and the Wildlife Management Authority.

The joint venture is the only licensed elephant nursery in Zimbabwe and was designed to cater for orphaned and injured elephant calves and to rehabilitate them for release back into the wild. The first elephant was rescued in February 2014; another four followed in 2015. They are all living happily at the sanctuary, spending at least 10 hours a day in the bush, walking, grazing, playing, swimming and learning.

Wild is Life have not yet been able to fully complete the first stage development of Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery facilities due to funding constraints, but we hope that our partnership with them will help make this happen.

With your help, the nursery will include an intensive care room, a research facility, accommodation for handlers and expanded space for baby elephants. They will then be moved—when they’re ready—to a second stage facility in the wild where they will undergo a similar routine in a wild environment, before finally being prepared to once more rejoin the wild.

For more information about Wild Is Life, please visit their website


  • This is Moyo, she was our first elephant orphan at ZEN (Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery). Moyo means 'heart' or 'soul' in Shona, the local Zimbabwe language. Moyo was a tiny baby when she arrived and is about to have her 2nd birthday at the sanctuary. This is a shot of her in the stables at the end of the day. The sunlight really illustrates her angelic character.

  • This is Sizi. She is a young elephant calf, about 22 months who was rescued from Beitbridge. Here she is pictures with one of the ZEN handlers Kiebbo, who is giving her her lunch time bottle in the bush. She was rescued after being found alone at a dry pan in the extreme south of the country. She is doing very well at ZEN and her tusks are just starting to come through. She is very playful and sociable.

  • This is Savannah(the lion) watching over some of the kudu herd. Savannah was the first lion that we rescued as a cub in 2002. She is a very gentle and curious lion. These kudu are descendants of a herd that we rescued from an invaded farm in 2002. They roam freely in the game park surrounding the sanctuary.

  • Close up of Moyo's eye and eyelashes!

  • Noodle (wildebeest) and Cordelia (impala) when they were young and still in the bottle. Both of them now live in the game park and are still tame. Cordelia recently had her first baby, which we are very excited about! Noodle lives in the game park and is very friendly and gregarious.

  • This is my mother Roxy with Bones the lion. Bones was brought to us as a very young and tiny cub, only a few days old, before his eyes even opened. Also a result of the land invasions, Bones came to us in 2005. As a result of his very young age my mum was with him 24/7 and they developed an incredible bond that they maintain today. Bones is the alpha male lion at Wild is Life. He is a beautiful and gentle natured lion but can be very fierce when there is food or lionesses on heat around. Bones has maintained an amazing bond with all of us in the family and is a very iconic member of Wild is Life.

  • This is Sweetpea (Kudu) and Bobby (Baboon) Sweetpea passed away last year after a life of more than 17 years, which is extremely old for any antelope. She is buried at the cemetery and her many offspring can be seen roaming Wild is Life today. Bobby was released with some of his own kind in Matabeleland at a primate sanctuary there. This is an incredible photo that was taken while Bobby used to groom and ride Sweetpea around.

  • The ever curious Moyo.

  • Bobby looking deeper into the meaning of life!

  • Moyo playing with a Flame Lily (Gloriosa Superba) the national flower of Zimbabwe. Kiebbo with Moyo playing and roaming in the bush on the farm.

  • Benson and Moyo playing in the sandpit. Moyo loves to play in sand and mud. A very important skill she has learnt to defend herself against the sun and parasites.

  • Moyo defending her territory and 'mock charging'.

  • Moyo after a mud bath.

  • Moyo and Sandra Gwara, one of the 680 children at our farm school, Danckwerts Primary school that our family supports and runs. Sandra is the daughter of Jonathon and Joyce Gwara, both of whom have been working at Wild is Life for more than 10 years.

  • The ZEN herd returning home after a day of foraging, playing and learning in the bush. Annabelle is leading, followed my Matabele, Kura and Sizi, led home by ZEN handler Benson Mudede.

  • Forbes Danckwerts and Moyo playing in the reeds by the river. Moyo loves to play in water/mud/reeds and loves to play with us. She is hilarious.

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