Tokwe is a provider, a protector and a nurturer

FOSTER TOKWE FOR MOTHER’S DAY COMING ON 8 MAY in many parts of the world – for yourself or a loved one! We are celebrating her as our Mother of the herd!


In this video above, Elephant Manager, Tigere and Senior Carer, Owen share insights into Tokwe. Tokwe in the meantime is busy pulling up a tree to reveal the roots for herself and the youngsters, Timisa and Khanyisa to feed on. Tokwe amazingly smells an injury on Adine’s knee — sustained from a cycling accident. The Matriarch inspects the graze and seems to try and help by pulling at Adine’s jeans covering her grazed shin. The elephants have reacted similarly when Adine’s daughter had a sore arm after receiving an injection — and placed their trunks over the site, curiously inspecting it. Elephants are capable of so much compassion, insight and intellect — it is amazing to be able to witness these traits in motion.

Tokwe is the herd’s Matriarch, having stepped into the position when the herd settled in their new home in our wilderness after being rescued from where they were threatened with being killed during land reforms in Zimbabwe, their place of birth. Tokwe is not the eldest female but she is the second eldest and shows the greatest qualities needed in a a matriarch. She is decisive, caring, confident, brave, a real leader and guardian for not only the young, but for the whole herd. Setombe did not want to be a leader, so Tokwe naturally took it upon herself to start taking that role at the head of the herd, to check on everyone, keep everyone calm, and protect them out in the bush. She did such a good job that everyone in the herd started to follow her and respect her as their matriarch. They were not really a herd before coming to our reserve as they were all orphans but with us they settled down into instinctive social structures.

Tokwe and her daughter, Pisa in 2021


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. I enjoy watching the elephants and as I watched today, I looked Tokwe up and learned more about her. It is moving, to me, to see her instinctively carry on. Watching the ellies gives me such peace and hope. I can learn so much from them. They are patient with each other. Much love to all. Kay in USA.

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.