At the heart of it all are our amazing elephants, and the bonds they form with our team are nothing short of extraordinary. These photos are more than just snapshots – they’re windows into the daily life of our sanctuary, revealing the love that surrounds every interaction.

From a carer’s reassuring touch to Khanyisa’s mischievous playfulness, these images tell the stories of an elephant family where love is not just a concept but the glue that holds us all together. Without love, none of this would be possible.

Come along with us as we explore the impact of love within our elephant family, captured in these emotionally charged photos. These pictures reveal more than just the daily lives of our rescued elephants; they showcase the genuine influence of love in the shared journey of our elephant and human herd.

Although trunk kisses may be a bit messy, they are always welcome! In this touching moment, Lundi extends a friendly trunk greeting to Tigere. It’s a simple yet heartwarming display of connection. In the elephant world, it’s a language of friendship and companionship, adding a touch of warmth to this interaction.

It is the simple moments like this, where the silence takes over and all that can be heard is the distant bird chirping and gentle snores, where unbreakable bonds are formed. The intimate connection between Phabeni and Adine during such a serene moment speaks volumes about the trust Phabeni has developed in our human herd. This trust is a testament to the patient, loving care that has been provided by our carers around the clock.

While it’s no secret that Khanyisa holds a special place in her heart for her milk bottles, there’s another layer of love captured in this photo that isn’t visible at first. The love between an adoptive mother and an orphan that is something we admire daily. Lundi stays near Khanyisa, watching out to ensure her safety even in peaceful times like this. The adoptive mothers in the herd, Tokwe and Lundi, have an unconditional love for their little ones and go the extra mile to keep them safe. It’s their unwavering dedication and nurturing instincts that make this herd truly one-of-a-kind.

It’s truly remarkable to consider that these beautiful creatures, each weighing in at 6 tonnes, have welcomed humans into their lives. According to many of the carers, the elephants have become like a second family to them. This photo says a thousand words, as Somopane, one of the largest bulls in the herd, shares a gentle trunk-to-hand greeting with Dzunisani.

The little girls in the herd love spending time with their mom, Adine. This photo captures this delightful moment, revealing the sheer excitement reflected in Timi’s flapping ears as the anticipation of the impending cuddle builds.

The brotherhood that has formed amongst the carers over the past 20+ years is one like no other. It’s in the small, everyday gestures like Tigere helping Simba fix the collar of his shirt that the depth of their connection is shown, highlighting the strength of the familial ties within our team of carers.

Could Khanyisa possibly get any closer? It’s safe to say that her preferred form of affection is through physical touch. Whether it’s her siblings, allomothers, or carers, she consistently seeks closeness. While it may be annoying at times, Timisa has learnt to manage the endless love, much like we, as humans, would with our own siblings.

We could not overlook the masculine bond within the herd. While cooling down on a hot day, Somopane and Zindoga seize the moment to engage in spirited sparring. Despite not sharing a blood relation, the older bulls take on a mentorship role, imparting valuable lessons to the younger ones as if they were their own children. This highlights the idea that family extends beyond bloodlines.

Images like these truly leave us at a loss for words. Herman and Phabeni have come a long way since this photo was taken, but it is impossible to deny the love and comfort in little Phabeni’s eyes. Moments like this touch the heart and linger in the memory.

This photo is much more than a beautiful sunset. Each of these majestic creatures, with their individual stories and distinct personalities, play a pivotal role in building a love that has spread across the globe. The herd goes beyond conventional boundaries, redefining the concept of “family” by accepting others into their space, challenging their natural instincts. When trying to explain the depth of such a unique love, the most fitting term that comes to mind is “empathy”, and it is a reminder that striving to achieve such a kind of love should be a goal in our everyday lives.

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  1. I have such respect for all of you. Your love and devotion for these wonderful elephants is beautiful to watch. Thank you!

  2. Thanks for all the love and devotion everybody put in everyday to help these majestic creatures. We salute you

  3. 1 Corinthians 13
    4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

    The loving hearts of all of you at HERD are so beautiful! Thank you for all you dπŸ’™

  4. I want to thank each and every human in the HERD 🐘 family for their unwavering love you have not just for each other but for this amazing family of elephants 🐘. You have taught all of us to be patient and that love comes in all forms and sizes. I think your word “empathy” says it all.
    Thank you HERD 🐘 for allowing us to take this adventure with all of you.
    Have a blessed day to all of the Jabulani family ❀️🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘❀️

  5. Bless you one and all at Herd. I stumbled into your site around the time of Khanyisa’s rescue, disgusted, ashamed and angry at the senseless cruelty of my fellow humans. I fell in love, and stayed, to laugh, to cry, and to thank all that it took to bring Herd into being. I live in Australia, where I was honoured to be a Wildlife Carer. As in the work you all do, it held a big mix of tears, Love and laughter. Thank you, and may Herd long continue πŸ’ž

  6. The love of the Herd is immeasurable from both sides, the way the carers love their elephants can be clearly seen in how they interact with each other. Humans should heed the lessons from elephants when it comes to family bonding, caring, and the joy of just being together. Thank you to everyone who has a hand in this amazing Herd.

  7. I very much appreciate all the work you do with these Ellies. I’ve learned so much watching your videos. As for that picture of the herd walking in single file back to the barn in the late evening sun: I’m going to be looking for a print of that picture because I would really love to hang that on my wall. It’s beautiful and keeps me thinking of you, and all the elephants. Thank you for all that you do.

  8. For 65 million years these elephants and rhinos have existed in relative peace. Place humans in the mix and in 200 years they have managed to kill and maim these magnificent beautiful animals until they very nearly have become extinct. Thanks to all you wonderful people in HERD you are saving them. The world owes you all a big thankyou.❀
    Many thanks from this old woman who spends hours watching your fabulous videos. You have made me feel as though I know personally all these elephants.

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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.