Wild Is Life

Wild is Life is a genuine wildlife sanctuary rescuing, rehabilitating, and re-wilding orphaned animals in Zimbabwe. It is also home to Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery (ZEN) - the countries first elephant orphanage.

See Wildlife, Zimbabwe.


“Wild is Life” has a long history and has grown exponentially over the past twenty years. From the humble beginnings of a few rescued wild orphans in our back yard, we have grown into the quality Animal Sanctuary that we are today. We are a genuine Wildlife Sanctuary, catering for injured, orphaned and rescued wildlife, as well as Endangered and Specially protected species. Our beginnings can be traced back to 1998, when we only had small creatures such as duiker and mongoose. We then grew substantially during the rocky and disturbing times of Zimbabwe, where we opened our arms to numerous species of wild mammals that needed a safe haven from the chaos that was prevailing.[1]

“Wild is Life” consists of two branches, namely The Wild is Life Trust, and the Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery.

Wild Is Life - Connection

Wild Is Life Trust oversee's all operations of the sanctuary, the nursery, and the release project. The Wild is Life Trust was officially formed in 2010, when Roxy Danckwerts, the protector of the Trust, felt that there was a need for the growing machinations of the Sanctuary to be assisted and monitored by an experienced team. Ably guided by a formidable team of Trustees, The Trust is responsible for the welfare, development of facilities and the high standards of care that is offered to the resident Animals.

The Sanctuary

Wild Is Life is a continued work in progress. It is an ongoing evolution, happening with the passing of time and maturity of spirit. They have become a fusion of humanity and wildlife. They are not just a Wildlife Sanctuary … they are so much more! Their philosophy of one by one is reflected in the care and welfare of the animals, as well as the guests who choose to visit them! All are treated as individuals.

All the animals resident at The Sanctuary are rescues or have been subsequently born on the property. Currently, the Wild is Life Sanctuary is home to a number of elephant, lion, cheetah, ground pangolin, kudu, giraffe, wildebeest, sable, impala, duiker, tortoise and monkeys. The population is dynamic and where possible, the sanctuary will release suitable animals back into larger habitats. Up until five years ago, the facility was not open to the public. However, due to considerable financial constraints and the need to “share” the sentience of these precious animals, the Sanctuary decided to open up to the public in a controlled and responsible manner.

Visit the Sanctuary

  • The exclusive afternoon tours are educational and aim to inspire a connection with the wild and natural world. They operate as a not for profit organisation and all the monies received from guest visits are used for the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife. They strictly limit the number of guests to their establishment, in order to protect the welfare of the animals in their care. The tours are undertaken with integrity and authenticity and are appreciated by their valued guests.

Wild Is Life - ZEN

The Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery (ZEN) was established in 2012 by Roxy Danckwerts. The ZEN Project is currently made up of two projects, the Nursery in Harare and the Re-wilding facility in Victoria Falls. The ZEN Project is generously supported by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) who have partnered with ZEN to ensure the long term sustainability of the project.

The ZEN Project

Creating a "culture of care" where orphaned elephant calves are given a second chance at a life in the wild. They believe that the elephant nursery is about affording the individual orphans a second chance at life. These orphans, who have been severely traumatized, deserve the opportunity to grow and thrive in the natural world. It is also about sharing the experience of these individuals with human kind. Of asking human beings to look beyond their own species … to draw a parallel between themselves and something that is wild.

The ZEN Nursery

The ZEN Nursery has been established as a specialized care-center for neonate elephants. The nursery was established in 2013 with the specific purpose of caring for orphaned neonate elephants. These young orphans require specialized care as they are particularly vulnerable in their early years. Because of the specialized nature of this work, the babies require around the clock attention to ensure their best chance of survival. Equipped with all the necessary infrastructure, the ZEN nursery is the only facility of its kind in Zimbabwe.

Animal Welfare

  • The welfare of each individual elephant that comes into their care is their primary concern. They take great measures to ensure that these vulnerable babies are given the necessary attention, care, and love that is needed to ensure every possible chance of survival.

Neonate Rehabilitation

  • Rehabilitating neonate elephants is a difficult process and requires a diverse team of experts to ensure success. They have adopted a holistic approach to the way in which they undertake the rehabilitation of each baby in their care. All babies are treated as individuals and, with a dedicated team of veterinarians, nurses, and carers, they are constantly learning new and innovative ways to support and care for these vulnerable creatures.

Research They believe that research is a critical part of the work that they do. They are consistently collecting and analyzing data from each individual elephant to ensure that the babies have the best possible chance of a full reintegration back to the wild.

ZEN Re-Wilding

A 34,000 hectare protected area where their elephants learn the tricks and trades of being wild elephants. In 2015 the ZEN Project partnered with the Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe to establish their re-wilding facility in Panda Masui Forest Area. This area was identified because of its strategic positioning in the KAZA region and ZEN has since established a 25-year lease with Forestry Commission to ensure that the area is fully protected. This allows their elephants to have a safe transition back into the wild whilst also enabling the organisation to realize their goals of having a larger impact in the conservation space.

Re-Wilding orphaned elephants

  • The ZEN Project has always had the vision of giving orphaned elephant calves a second chance at a life lived in the wild. The Re-Wilding facility in Victoria Falls offers the organisation the opportunity to give their ele’s the best possible chance of that becoming a reality. The 34,000 hectare protected area ensure’s that the elephants are protected at all times while they adjust to living in the bush. Currently, they have 6 elephants which are well on their way towards making a full reintroduction back to the wild.

Habitat Restoration

  • Through their partnership with Tree Eco, they have established 6 tree nurseries around Zimbabwe to support and scale their goal of planting 5 million tree’s by 2020. So far, they have planted more than 200,000 indigenous tree’s, distributing tree’s to 2,200 rural households.


  • ZEN supports Forestry Commission in their anti-poaching activities across the country. At Panda Masuie, they have 12 full time rangers equipped with state-of-the-art gear needed to protect the concession which spans 34,000 hectares. Their anti-poaching program will grow in the next 5 years as they plan to increase their ranger base to 35 rangers.


Their cornerstone philosophy is "One by One", respecting each animal in our care as an individual and a sentient being.

Facts about their projects

Wild Is Life and ZEN is a constant work in progress. Through a dedicated team of professionals, conservationists, and veterinarians, their projects continue to grow and evolve. They are constantly learning and, while they don't always get it right, they are committed to the long-term sustainability of wildlife conservation in Zimbabwe.

The Wild Team

  • Roxy Danckwerts - Founder of Wild Is Life and ZEN
  • Jos Danckwerts - Director of Conservation
  • Angela Styles - Managing Director Wild Is Life
  • Paradzai Mutize - Head of ZEN Re-Wilding
  • January Gweshe - Head of ZEN Nursery
  • Alex Norman - Director of Sanctuary Operations
  • Dr. Mark Lombard - Chief Veterinarian


  • 2 Delport Road, Harare Airport, Zimbabwe
  • Telephone: +263 779127251
  • Bookings: bookings@wildislife.org
  • Booking Hours: Tuesday - Saturday: 15.00 - 19.00

Picture Gallery



  1. [1], Wild Is Life, Accessed: 25 September, 2020