Pisa, the youngest daughter to the herd’s matriarch, Tokwe, was born with a bang on 13 November 2009.

Derived from the Shona word, ‘inopisa’, meaning heat, Pisa’s name was chosen after the brave little calf made the 4km journey from where she was born back to the homestead despite the blazing heat.

It had been one of the hottest days of the season and Tokwe had shown no signs that she was close to labour, making Pisa’s birth quite unexpected. The carers had been concerned about this tiny little elephant making such a long journey on such a hot day, but Pisa showed her resilience and walked close to her mother’s side until it was safe to rest.

She has never really left her mother’s side and has spent the past 12 years learning about being a leader from Tokwe, as well as how to be a kind companion to the orphaned calves that have joined the herd. When Timisa first arrived, Pisa was not interested in spending time with her, as she was a little jealous of Timisa becoming the youngest of the herd and receiving a lot of attention. But, as time has passed, she accepted Timisa and has become a very comforting friend for her.

A similar encounter happened with Khanyisa when the albino orphan was first introduced to the herd – Pisa showed no interest and what we discerned as some jealousy. But over time, as she got used to Khanyisa and perhaps as Khanyisa won her over, the two are now friends and as Pisa grows up more and more perhaps she will take on an allomother role with Khanyisa. For now, however, she is still a young teenager, enjoying her independence.

Pisa has grown slowly but surely into her mother’s exceptional footsteps, proving herself to be a leader in the making with a kind, nurturing, and confident spirit. Pisa enjoys spending time with her sister, Limpopo, and with the other young cows and bulls. She is a joyful young elephant who is proving her leadership skills with each new day. That first long walk home must have had a profound impact, as she loves to try and lead the herd when out foraging, and is often seen at the front of her family on the herd’s walk back to the homestead at sunset. She can’t help those Matriarch genes.

In the below video, we get to know Pisa a little bit better and also get to know more about elephants’ teeth from Senior Elephant Carer, Owen.

Pisa’s second set of molars has recently come in, which is an important milestone for the young elephant! This tends to happen every ten years or so.

“Pisa has grown to become a lovely young elephant, who loves attention, and shows a lot of promising leadership within the younger generation of the herd.” ~ Tigere Matipedza, Elephant Manager

We can’t wait to watch Pisa continue to grow and learn under the wise guidance of her elders as she navigates her teen years and her journey to one day being an allomother.

Click HERE to foster Pisa and help us to support her!

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