I know for certain that Fishan was able to recover so well after his accident, not only because of the excellent medical attention we were able to give him, but because of the help and encouragement from his herd.

Elephants, as you’ll know from watching them, are social beings. When Kumbura arrived in our care as a traumatized orphan, it was being around other young elephants in our rescued herd that helped her to heal from the anger and terror she felt after being alone for months, having lost the only family she knew. For albino calf and snare survivor, Khanyisa, what kept her spirits up and gave her something to look forward to was the new herd who would become her very own, after she lost the family she was born into. Seeing, smelling, listening to, and talking with her own species, through the fence and then up close, trunk to trunk, no doubt gave her immense comfort and excitement.

Similarly, Fishan needed his family after his accident in 2018 when he fractured his left leg. He couldn’t walk with his herd in the bush for many weeks, while he recovered, but his spirits were kept up through the company of our carers, and his herd, when they returned home for the night. We always knew he would walk with them again. We had faith in the strength he had always shown in life. And when he started, little by little, joining the elephants in the wilderness for accompanied escapades, our hearts jumped knowing he was defying the odds. Elephants just don’t overcome such obstacles. Humans don’t tend to (or simply can’t always) go to the ends needed to help an elephant with a fractured leg bone. The fate that awaits such an elephant is in most cases euthanasia. But there was no way we were parting with Fishan when we had top wildlife vets to help do whatever it took.

Fishan’s family had been waiting for him, the family he had travelled with across the border from Zimbabwe in 2002 after being rescued from a fate more ruthless than euthanasia. A family that had grown to accept new orphans and that had seen babies being born to the older cows. Fishan had been through so much with his herd. It was only right that they stand by him when he was at his weakest. Matriarch Tokwe took Fishan in instantly. She has never left his side in these five years. She holds back when the herd are walking in the bush and keeps an eye on Fishan, gives him company. He’s slower than before, limps somewhat, but he keeps up. Tokwe shares her paddock in the homestead with this big bull, and the youngsters in the herd, and continues to be a rock in Fishan’s life.

Timisa, who has always had a close bond with Fishan, is also there, to stand with him, while lucerne or bana grass or oranges are being surveyed and consumed. We all need these constants in a world that changes so rapidly, or when we’re going through changes ourselves. Fishan’s herd has been his constant and have undoubtedly helped him to stay strong. Jabulani doesn’t back down from keeping the older bull on his toes, challenging him from time to time, as the two compete his status in the hierarchy. Khanyisa sweetly follows behind or in front of Fishan’s big feet, as her little legs don’t carry her as swiftly as the older elephants. She has a father figure in the bull, many of the younger elephants do.

Fishan will always need support. He simply wouldn’t survive in the wild, were he fully reintegrated. And this is where HERD steps in, to give Fishan the daily care he needs, from his pressure wound to his joints. Wintertime sees very low evening and morning temperatures in the bush and as with humans, this plays havoc with Fishan’s body, making him stiffer and more prone to pain. Our carers help alleviate this as much as possible with anti-inflammatory medication and pain relievers, and are sure to have Fishan routinely seen to by our favourite veterinary experts. This pushes up the cost of caring for him.

But a special day is coming up where your help can go even further.

GlobalGiving’s July Bonus Day is on 12 July, for one day only – donations over $100 will be matched. Only donations of $100 USD and up will count on Bonus Day and, the higher the donation, the higher the match. We are dedicating Bonus Day to Fishan and raising money for his care.

GlobalGiving’s July Bonus Day campaign will begin on July 12, 2023, at 09:00:00 EDT and will end when matching funds run out, or on July 12, 2023, at 23:59:00 EDT, whichever comes first.

Read more >

You can donate here on 12 July >

Please help us to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to help Fishan!

With love and thanks always

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