From the beginning when orphan elephant, Kumbura arrived, Sebakwe was the bull who really showed her the most attention and support. The two bonded beautifully and Kumbura even tried to suckle from him.
It’s so heartwarming to see the elephants behaving in this way, since usually in wild herds, older males will be in separate herds and not at all a part of the rearing of the new calves, rather supporting the younger bulls in their male herd. Nevermind the fact of accepting “strangers”, new orphans in need, into the herd. Sebakwe still holds great status and respect as the dominant bull and certainly doesn’t let the younger bulls walk over him, but he does has a softness that he has shown elephants like Kumbura and Khanyisa.
These moments with Sebakwe as a father figure are so special, as he gathers around all the youngsters and contentedly grazes beside them, often stepping in to make sure everything is ok. Sebakwe may very well have fathered a child of his own after arriving at our reserve, following his rescue from Zimbabwe, where he and the herd were at risk of being culled.
He was certainly of age and had ample opportunity to mate, with the females in our herd or the wild herds in the reserve. Of course, we will never know, but we do suspect he may potentially be the father to one of the elephants born to our herd.
Sebakwe was named after a river in Zimbabwe and is believed to have been born in 1985. He is thought to be an orphan, but the circumstances are not known. He is by far the biggest, tallest and widest (both from the front and from the rear) elephant in the rescued herd. His tusks have developed beautifully and are long and strong, with his right tusk being slightly higher than his left trunk. He is regal, tender and loving, and very protective of the herd.
Sebakwe spends as much time as possible with Setombe, the oldest of the females, as they get on extremely well. He also shares his part of the homestead with Setombe and Klaserie at night. His favourite time of the day is when the elephants take time out of their day’s foraging, to swim in one of the dams.
Putting this video of Sebakwe together for #HERDFathersDay gave us such joy! So many chuckles and moments of amazement, while we looked back on some of the memories of Sebakwe, the dominant bull, offering his fatherly support, protection, gentleness and playfulness to the little elephants in the herd, especially Khanyisa!
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