Elephant calves require intensive and specialized husbandry practice.
In particular, the neonate elephant calf(under one month old) requires highly specialized care that is unlike any other mammal. To date, in Zimbabwe, no other neonate calf except for Moyo, has survived the rigors of hand raising, to his/her first brithday.
The diet is a specialized formula, devised by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Elephant calves are completely reliant on milk until a minimum of two years. They will continue to drink milk until they are at least 5 years old.
Each neonate calf requires a minimum of four handlers, each working 8 hour shifts. The calf is never left alone and is cared for around the clock.
As the calves get older and stronger, the handler/animal ratio is reduced.
A suitable variety of browse and grasses are needed to supplement the milk diet. The calves also need to learn the different tastes of a multitude of botanical species.
Swimming in a relatively large body of water as well as mud baths and sand pits are required for the daily enrichment of the animals.
The elephant calves are housed in a heated barn, with a mattress to prevent chafing. The handlers also require a bed so that they can sleep with the infants.
Care is taken to prevent sunburn, chafing, dry skin and parasites.