“We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?” asked Piglet.
“Even longer,” Pooh answered.
~ A.A. Milne
The title of ‘legend’ isn’t one that’s handed out without careful consideration. If you ask us, no sheep could be more deserving of legend status than kind and compassionate Lammie.
A sense of belonging and companionship is known to greatly enhance the wellbeing of any living creature, particularly emotionally complex elephant calves. Lammie, HERD’s resident companion sheep, has been a hero in providing this love and support to the calves at HERD, taking her role of devoted surrogate mother very seriously.
This very special sheep has dedicated her life to helping the most vulnerable of babies, providing unwavering patience, kindness, and acceptance. We are endlessly grateful to have Lammie the Legend on our team!
A Very Unique Sheep
Lammie is a Thaba-Manzi Pedi breed of sheep, which is local to South Africa, and known for their exceptional mothering skills. This breed is often very protective of their young, which may be hard to imagine given Lammie’s gentle nature.
Pedi sheep are very resilient and hardy animals, which allows them to thrive in many circumstances and environments. As you have likely noticed, Lammie has a rather uniquely-shaped tail. This is normal for the breed, which has a signature fat tail where the sheep store most of their fat. We love how Lammie has a cute bend and curve in hers!
The History of Lammie
Lammie was born in 2014 and soon became an “animal mom” to numerous orphaned rhinos and a few elephants too.
This unique sheep quickly became a worldwide phenomenon as people fell in love with the incredible bond between her and her first adopted child, Gertjie, an orphaned rhino at the HESC rehabilitation facility, staying by the little animal’s side continuously.
While she began her role of motherhood as a resident companion to baby rhinos at the centre, she was soon introduced to her first young orphaned elephant – little Shawu. At first, she did not know what to make of the tiny animal and its curiously long nose, but proving her undeniable, natural motherly instincts, she quickly adopted Shawu as one of her own.
Khanyisa the Orphaned Elephant
Lammie’s next journey would be at HERD, where she would continue to step up to her duties as a surrogate mother to elephant orphans and become a vital member of the rehabilitation team. Her kind nature has been a great source of comfort for young Khanyisa since she arrived at the orphanage in early 2020, teaching us daily about true compassion.
Now seven years old, our favourite woolly carer has provided Khanyisa with essential comforting companionship and joyful fun, games and stimulation on jaunts around the nursery that she currently shares with Khanyisa.
Lammie has stood by Khanyisa through ups and downs and watched her friend heal and grow and head out with her herd more and more as the elephant has continued her phased integration into the Jabulani herd. She is there to see Khnayisa off at sunrise and welcome her back at sunset. Her presence is still incredibly beneficial for Khanyisa at the nursery in the evenings, as the two have bonded so beautifully since a bit of a rocky start when Khanyisa was still coming to understand and accept her roommate.
A New Friend in Nungu
With Khanyisa now spending her days out in the wilderness with her herd, Lammie was in need of a friend of her own! Thankfully, fellow companion sheep Nungu was up for the job.
Nungu joined HERD in March 2021 for a well-deserved retirement after filling the role of companion sheep and surrogate mother to a number of orphaned wildlife for many years.
The pair have become wonderful friends since Nungu joined HERD earlier this year and enjoy days filled with grazing, bonding, and ensuring everything remains in tip-top shape for their beloved young calf.
We look forward to watching Lammie continue to spread her incredible love and compassion in the months and years to come!