Phabeni’s Story

Phabeni is an orphaned elephant that was rescued in November 2023. One morning, a woman living near the Kruger National Park woke up to find an elephant calf on her property. Unfortunately, there was no sign of his mother or herd. It is not known how the calf was displaced or how he came to be on the property, but he was likely separated from his herd through some event and was unable to find his way back or escape from the property due to the fencing around it.

With the help of officials from Nature Conservation at the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency – including the veterinarian who helped rescue Khanyisa – the calf was transported to Kruger National Park’s Phabeni gate, where the HERD team was waiting for him. The calf was named Phabeni, which means “shelter” in Sotho.

At the time of his rescue, Phabeni was estimated to be about 4 months old. He weighed just 122kg – a little bit less than Khanyisa weighed at the time of her rescue, also at 4 months of age. Fortunately, Phabeni started drinking from milk bottles right away, and he will hopefully begin gaining weight soon.

From the moment he arrived at the orphanage, Phabeni has shown himself to be a very feisty little one. He knows what he wants and he makes sure he gets it, even if it means clambering over a scale or climbing through his water trough. Within his first 24 hours at HERD, he had already knocked an adult man over – more than once!

Phabeni is currently staying in the orphanage, with Lammie by his side. The carers are keeping a close eye on him, as orphans are at their most vulnerable during the first few weeks after their rescue. An orphan’s condition can take a turn for the worse at any moment, and the team knows to be prepared for anything. Phabeni has been through a very stressful and traumatising time, and he needs to recover both physically and emotionally.

We know the coming months will be filled with many sleepless nights and worry-filled days. But Phabeni deserves a second chance at life, and we will do everything possible to give him that chance.

Phabeni – Once-off / Yearly

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Donation Total: $60.00 One Time

Phabeni – Monthly


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South Africa



By becoming a foster parent, you’re contributing to the care of your adopted elephant. You’re helping us to provide your adopted elephant with everything they need to be healthy and happy. This includes daily supplemental food like fresh bana grass and lucerne, as well as cleaning and maintenance of the elephant homestead. If your adopted elephant needs any medical support, your contribution will go towards providing them with medicine and veterinary care.


We offer different adoption levels. You can choose to adopt by making a once-off donation or by making recurring monthly donations.


You can adopt an elephant yourself, or you can gift an adoption to a loved one.


All foster parents receive:

  • ● A personalised printable certificate
  • ● An anatomy guide for your adopted elephant
  • ● Access to a private Facebook group for foster parents
  • ● Quarterly updates on your adopted elephant
  • ● A digital birthday card


The higher your adoption level, the more special benefits you will receive. For example, Gold and Platinum foster parents receive unseen photos of their adopted elephant each quarter. For more details on benefits, please contact


Your adoption is the equivalent of:


Marula Bronze Silver Gold Platinum

Food for one day of each month

Food for three to four days of each month, or

Food for one week of each month, or

Food for two weeks of each month, or

Food for most days of each month, or

One medication each year

Multiple medications each year, or

One medication each month, or

Multiple medications each month, or

One high-cost medication each year

Multiple high-cost medications each year, or

One high-cost medication each month, or

One veterinary visit each year

Multiple veterinary visits each year

View other Orphans


Female | Born: 2019


Female | Born: 2015


Female | Born: 2008

Help Save Our Vulnerable Gentle Giants

We rely on incredible people like you to keep us going. Every cent counts, and no contribution is too small. HERD relies on public funding to cover the operational costs to care for and support elephant orphans and the rescued herd, so we really appreciate your support.

Elephant Tales Blog

Want to hear the latest and greatest stories about what the elephants are up to? No two days are the same, and they always amaze us with their distinctive personalities and acceptance of one another. Follow us this way for all the latest stories of what’s happening at HERD.