Panda Masuie

Rewilding, Anti-Poaching & Communities

Panda preview

A wild Home…

In 2015 Panda Masuie, a 34 000 hectare-protected area near Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe was secured in partnership with Wild is Life and the Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe. This is where the Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery (ZEN) rescued and rehabilitated elephants begin their final step towards their rewilding which is their full reintegration back into the wild, roaming and living free with other wild elephants. 
This area, almost 1000kms cross country from the ZEN 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. 
Since its inception, Panda Masuie has grown and evolved into so much more and its impact in the area has been far-reaching and felt by the landscape, the animals, and the communities. In only a few short years the Panda Masuie team, headed by Jos Danckwerts, our ever-committed and passionate pioneering Conservation Director has renovated more than 100kms of roads, established 5 permanent water points, setup 4 Ranger bases and each year they burn over 120km of firebreaks.

All these efforts have seen the area take on a new lease on life. Year after year, we have been welcoming more and more species of wild animals to the area as they now know there is water, food, protection, and a safe space to call home for them to enjoy freely…

Moving Little Giants wild is life

Moving Little Giants

In 2018, the first relocation took place where 8 elephants were carefully moved from ZEN in Harare to Panda Masuie.

The second mammoth relocation took place in 2020 (amidst the pandemic nonetheless) and another 6 elephants were moved by road over 1000kms from Harare to Victoria Falls.

Both relocation operations were hugely successful with no injuries or any other issues along the way thanks to the super diligent Wild is Life, ZEN and Panda Masuie teams in partnership with IFAW.

Endless planning and preparing for months in advance ensured that each elephant move is a trumpeting success!

Rewilding Success

The final step back to a life in the wild is left to the now-rehabilitated elephants to do so at their leisure and when they feel ready. The Panda Masuie herd often interacts with the wild elephants in the area who share waterhole refreshments or meet up in the bush or they even come to the Boma where the Panda Masuie herd sleeps at night.

So far 6 elephants Mfana, Tulku, Lizzie, Mana, Matabele and Jack have left to join wild herds successfully completing their journey of having been rescued, rehabilitated, and rewilded. This is no small feat, with on average each one’s journey taking over 5 years to come full circle.

At the moment, some of the other elephants – Tess, Marsie, Amira, and Sizi constantly spend time in the bush ranging from a week to 3 months and then enjoy returning back to the Bomas to say hello or rejoin the Panda Masuie herd until they feel called back to the wild again…

rewilding success wild is life

Inspiring Conservation

Protecting the area from poaching is crucial to the success of Panda Masuie and the entire vision of Wild is Life as without a safe space, rewilding elephants would not at all be possible. 
All anti-poaching efforts are done in partnership with the Forestry Commissions Forest Protection Unit (FPU) and we now have a total of 18 trained rangers in total who patrol the area 24/7, 365 days a year!
Wild is Life provides transport, radios, equipment, uniforms, communication devices and technology and has facilitated two training programs for the Rangers. 


Protecting the area and the animals would not be complete without empowering the community!
A few of our most impactful programs include:
  • Setting up a human-elephant coexistence fence – a whopping 14kms long. This alone has resulted in a 90% reduction in crop raiding and a better relationship between communities and wild elephants
  • Education for children by supporting and donating to the Panda Masuie Primary School
  • Facilitated and completed the construction of the Early Childhood Development Centre in the area
  • A solar-powered water pump was installed for access to clean water for the community throughout the year
  • Chilli out-grower scheme providing inputs and technical advice and access to market for 16 farmers
  •  650 cattle dipped every week and vet treatments and assistance of livestock belonging to local communities
  • And more than 35 permanent jobs were created!
chili growing panda masuie

“When you look a wild animal in the eye, it’s catching a glimpse into the soul of nature itself.”

– Paul Oxton

Our dedicated team

Roxy Danckwerts

Roxy Danckwerts

Jos Danckwerts

Jos Danckwerts

Conservation Director

Paradzai Mutize

Head Handler
Thulani Panda Masuie

Thulani Masuku

Head of Engineering
Habitat Conservation Elephant Carer Team

Elephant Carer Team

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”

– Native Proverb

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