Colossal Biosciences Launches Partnership with Elephant Havens Wildlife Foundation to Develop New Models for the Successful Reintroduction of Orphan Elephants Using AI

Colossal Biosciences team at Elephant Havens in Botswana, Africa. From left to right: Steve Metzler, Matt James, Dr. Wendy Kiso.

Colossal Biosciences team at Elephant Havens in Botswana, Africa. From left to right: Steve Metzler, Matt James, Dr. Wendy Kiso. (Photo: Business Wire)

DALLAS--()--Colossal Biosciences, the world’s first de-extinction company, has today announced an integrated partnership with Elephant Havens Wildlife Foundation, the only elephant orphanage in Botswana, to establish a new model playbook for reintroducing orphan elephants back into the wild.

Built on the edge of the Okavango Delta in Botswana, Elephant Havens offers high-quality, tailored care to abandoned and orphaned elephants until they can be reintroduced into the wild. In a new initiative, Colossal has teamed up with Elephant Havens to implement a technologically-informed approach to elephant care and reintroduction methods. As part of this initiative, Colossal will deploy artificial intelligence (AI) technology to enable comparative analysis between the behaviors of orphaned elephants and those observed in wild elephants.

This approach, using AI to analyze video data, allows for an in-depth study of elephant herd dynamics. It is our expectation that this innovative use of technology will illuminate additional behavioral markers, providing invaluable insights that can inform more effective reintroduction strategies.

As part of an ongoing initiative to delve into the population genomics of elephants, Colossal will be performing genomic sequencing on all elephants at Elephant Havens. Colossal aims to monitor and periodically measure specific traits of interest at established stages of the elephants’ development. This will help generate a comprehensive dataset that facilitates cross-population comparisons and assists in identifying gene-trait correlations, providing valuable insights into their biology and behavior.

“Colossal is committed to uncovering innovative opportunities for species preservation, and as a keystone species that contributes to the vitality and biodiversity of their ecosystems, it’s imperative elephants remain a core focus of these efforts,” said Matt James, Chief Animal Officer at Colossal Biosciences. “This partnership not only provides an opportunity to establish a better paradigm for reintroducing elephant herds, but will allow us to build a detailed understanding of elephant calf physical and social development. We couldn’t be more grateful to Elephant Havens for their collaboration.”

“Our mission is to preserve elephants and their habitats, educate the public and establish creative solutions that closely align with the pioneering work of Colossal,” said Debra Stevens, Co-Founder of Elephant Havens. “Because elephants have an inherent need for community connection, orphaned elephants have been reported to perish from grief without attachment to their family unit, whether that’s other herd members or humans. Reintroducing these orphans is therefore a requirement of their preservation, and we are honored to innovate the existing approaches to elephant conservation and reintroduction with Colossal’s impressive team.”

This partnership will establish a reintroduction paradigm, which will be vital for Colossal’s future endeavors as the company aims to reintroduce species including the woolly mammoth back into the Arctic. Specifically, the outputs from this partnership will help to inform rewilding strategies for Colossal’s first mammoth herds. In 2021, Colossal first announced plans to bring back and eventually rewild the mammoth back into the Arctic.


Colossal was founded by emerging technology and software entrepreneur Ben Lamm and world-renowned geneticist and serial biotech entrepreneur George Church, Ph.D., and is the first to apply CRISPR technology for the purposes of species de-extinction. Colossal creates innovative technologies for species restoration, critically endangered species protection and the repopulation of critical ecosystems that support the continuation of life on Earth. Colossal is accepting humanity's duty to restore Earth to a healthier state, while also solving for the future economies and biological necessities of the human condition through cutting-edge science and technologies. To follow along, please visit:


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Elephant Havens Wildlife Foundation was founded in 2017 by Debra Stevens, her husband Scott Jackson, and Boaga Poloko to protect and preserve the African elephant. The Foundation was inspired by a visit to Botswana five years prior when Debra met a six-month-old orphaned elephant. Through habitat protection, community outreach, and the rescue and hand-rearing of young elephant orphans, Elephant Havens aims to become a leading voice in wildlife conservation awareness and wildlife protection. They envision a world in which African elephants and local communities coexist without conflict, and where young elephant orphans are saved and reintroduced into the wild.