We have realised what is missing in our emergency kit and that’s new radios and strong spotlights for moments like this. We are appealing to you to help us raise funds just for this need. You can sponsor radios and spotlights by donating to these items on our wishlist here:



It’s not often that Tokwe has us running around the reserve for her. That’s the territory of Lundi and Mambo, in their wild elephant chases. There are many reasons our rescued elephants might go after the wild ones in the reserve, such as out of protection for our herd, and to chase the wild herd off, or to investigate something, or out of curiosity and an interest to socialise. The interactions between the two groups are very complex and we can’t ever know exactly the causes for each one, whether it’s with wild lone bulls or wild matriarchal herds with babies. In this case, Tokwe was alarmed by something, which you will have seen in a video last month, as she left the waterhole to chase after the wild elephants close by. What we have waited until today to show you is what happened next… On our herd’s return to the homestead before sunset, we noticed that Tokwe was missing. Fishan stopped and looked back from time to time, knowing that the Matriarch was AWOL before us. We returned our herd to the homestead, and took to the bush in search of Tokwe.


The sun was setting fast and it was getting especially dark, with no moon yet up in the sky to light our way. We didn’t have the right equipment to search in the bush at night, with our radios now very old and our spotlights not bright enough to light far distances. We borrowed lights from Jabulani lodge in the reserve and relied more on shouting out to one another in the bush as a way of communicating while we searched for Tokwe. We spotted a lone figure between the trees, heard the trumpeting and then saw Tokwe running at Adine’s car. She did not stop, she kept running. Adine and the carers used the car’s headlights to search for tracks, but could not find the missing Matriarch.

We assumed she would return to the homestead to be with her herd, because as a Matriarch, that is her priority. We were right. We found her later at the homestead and when she reunited with her herd, it was Fishan who reacted the most intensely. He streamed from the temporal gland with excitement, urinated loudly and trumpeted. Listen to the trumpets and sounds of reunion in this video as we managed to capture the night scenes.


🐘 Donate towards a Hytera Radio for our elephant carers: https://herd.org.za/product/hytera-radio/

Our carers are out in the bush the whole day with the Jabulani herd and need these Two-way radios to communicate. There is no cellphone reception and therefore the radio’s are their only means of communication with each other and the HERD operations team, in the event of an emergency or injury. Guides on the reserve also communicate with our carer team through radio to keep them up to date on where they need to look out for dangerous wildlife. It is a vital piece of equipment that our carers need to keep them safe! Your donation will help us to purchase this item locally for our team.

🐘 Donate towards an Emergency Spotlight for our vehicles and carers to use at night around the Elephant Homestead and on the reserve. Your donation will help us to purchase this item locally. – https://herd.org.za/product/emergency-spotlight/

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    1. I was horrified when I read about Tokwe going “walkies”. She is a gorgeous lady and I am also glad that she returned to the homestead. It was also touching to hear about Fishan being excited to see her back again. We will never know what the extent the intelligence level of these amazing animals is. We have a marvellous Creator!

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.