Saving Orphans

It was her bond with Naledi, the hand-reared orphan, that drove Debra Stevens to want to protect these beautiful animals when they are at their most fragile. Elephant Havens Wildlife was founded, and she and her husband, Scott Jackson, found an ideal location for an elephant orphanage in Botswana. Fundraising began in 2017 and by spring of 2018 the orphanage was under construction. By 2019, the fenced grounds included 9 elephant bomas, vet office and lab, staff village, public bathrooms, reception area, administrative office and a main building for meetings, education and group events.

Botswana is home to more elephants than any other nation in the world. The fact that the government bars hunting and strictly enforces anti-poaching laws with serious penalties greatly reduces the impact of humans on elephants there. Sensing a safe place to roam, elephants migrate from neighboring Namibia and Zimbabwe and nearby Zambia to escape hunters and trophy-seekers.

Sadly, with a large elephant population there comes a higher concentration of orphaned elephants than in other countries. Fire. Drought. Human activities. Besides natural causes, these are the events that separate a young elephant from their mother and their herd.