Anna & Steve Tolan - Founders
Douglas the hippo
Steve and Anna Tolan emigrated from England to Zambia in 1998 to set up their lifetime dream of establishing a conservation education program for local children in a wildlife-community conflict area. Previously they were both officers with the Thames Valley Police but in their private lives, Africa was their passion.
Anna runs a comprehensive and inspiring conservation education program for children and young adults and Steve is a senior honorary wildlife officer and is active in wildlife and habitat protection.
Over the years, Anna and Steve have rescued many orphaned and injured animals, nursing them to health or adulthood and releasing them back into the wild. We have been fortunate to meet many of the characters who have been through Chipembele, some of who are still there. We have shared photos and short stories on a few of our favourites below.
The Luangwa Valley is now their permanent home and all the projects they run have become an integral part of their lives. After our family visit to Chipembele in 2014 and subsequent visits by Dave Higgs, OAT's man on the ground, aka OATOKE, we decided to support Anna and Steve in their admirable work.
What Chipembele does
Conservation education for children and young adults
Wildlife rescue & rehabilitation
Environmental protection & wildlife law enforcement
Sponsored the construction of new enclosures for rescued animals
Annual contribution towards cost of feeding the animals during their rehabilitation
Annual contribution towards Steve’s work in wildlife law enforcement
Support of the mobile education unit in conjunction with the Hosking family; private donors and friends of OAT
How Olsen Animal Trust helps
Project Images - hover over for details
Douglas the baby hippo
Douglas the hippo was rescued by Ian Stevenson of Conservation Lower Zambezi, another admirable organisation we support in Zambia. As a young baby who had been abandoned by his mother, Douglas flew from the Lower Zambezi to Chipembele where 3 staff were assigned to care for him 24 hours a day under Anna's careful supervision. He was milk -fed around the clock for the first 12 months.
The orphans needing regular feeding
One way in which OAT supports Chipembele is to cover the cost of the orphaned animals food. Over the years rescued animals have included hippos, elephants, warthogs, lion cubs, antelope and primates.
Douglas with Dave
Douglas was successfully hand-raised by Anna & Steve for three years and during this time he was allowed to move freely between their home and the river where a local pod of hippos reside. Dave, aka OATOKE, our man on the ground has had many close encounters with him during his numerous visits to Chipembele.
Mobile Education Unit
Chipembele's education programme is on the move. Thanks to this colourful ex-British Army Land Rover ambulance which is now a mobile education unit, Chipembele are able to educate even the most remote communities about the importance of the wildlife that lives alongside them. OAT are delighted to support this fantastic initiative in conjunction with the Hosking family; private donors and friends of OAT.
Anna with rescued primates
Anna is so dedicated to her work and is a mother to many.
Mica with Pebbles
Mica was only two weeks old when she was confiscated from children selling her on the roadside. She required intensive care which Anna & Steve were happy to provide. Mica is doing really well and has integrated nicely with other rescued primates at Chipembele. Some of the older female vervets cuddle and carry him like he was one of their own. Even the female yellow baboon mothers him sometimes!
Nicola the scrub hare
Nicola (named after Nicola Olsen) was rescued by Max, a Chipembele conservation student who found her in a maize field. She was destined for the pot but Max safeguarded Nicola and travelled 8km on foot and crossed two rivers to get her to Chipembele where she was cared for until her release.
Wol the wood owl
Wol fell out of a very tall tree when he was a young fledgling and couldn't be returned. With care he matured and after his release he used to fly onto Steve and Anna's shoulders most evenings as they sat at the riverside with a sundowner drink. Gradually his visits became less frequent until he stopped altogether, fully integrating back into the wild.
Stanley the bushbaby
Pictured here eating yoghurt. Rescued at just a few months old, Stanley is now back in the wild but still visits Chipembele, on occasion, looking for treats.
For further information on the caring and thoughtful work of Chipembele please visit www.chipembele.org