Phabeni’s second and third meeting with the herd was full of excitement and progress!

In this second meeting, Setombe is a firm favourite as Phabeni’s surrogate mother, although Lundi still holds a bond with the calf. Khanyisa is much less jealous and combative than in the first introduction with Phabeni and Kumbura shows immense interest in helping to support the bull. What a beautiful family! They touch our hearts deeply in their show of love, welcoming this wild orphaned bull into their embrace and letting him know that he need never be alone again.

Watch the scene unfold:

During the rest of the second introduction between Phabeni and the herd, watch how Khanyisa changes. Initially jealous and unsure of what to do with the new calf among her elephant family, she back-kicked him and even poked him with her tusks. Now she is much calmer, and very intrigued, even standing beside the little bull sweetly. She shows plenty of interest and gives us great hope for the future as we consider the possible friendship that may grow between these two babies in the herd. Setombe is still very much in the role of Phabeni’s mother in this introduction, and Lundi appears to have backed off, letting Setombe take Phabeni in. Setombe is fierce in her protection of the calf, especially as the commotion starts with the rain. The herd huddles tightly around Phabeni and the calf can hardly move among the giant legs. He gets a knock and screams, resulting in the herd running toward him and surrounding his little frame. We need to put the cameras down as the rain really pelts down and move Phabeni back to the warm, dry orphanage. Here, with Lammie and Spotty, carer Reply has made Phabeni’s hay bed and the bull settles down into it, with Adine by his side.

Young Elephants, Timisa & Khanyisa Show Great Interest in Orphan, Phabeni

So many unexpected scenes fill this video. No other female stands a chance at taking on the role of Phabeni’s mother with Setombe around. The eldest and dominant female in the herd is being truly amazing in her affection toward Phabeni. She is blowing us away, as she continues to show up and support Phabeni. In this third introduction, Khanyisa and Timisa really surprise us too! Both young elephants shower Phabeni with attention, their curious trunks making sure they make the most of their time with this new baby. This was the first time Timisa showed interest in the bull, but Khanyisa has been growing in her attitude toward the calf, and now seems totally smitten. Perhaps the three will be the best of friends out in the bush! Matriarch Tokwe is also very present in these moments, keeping a watch over the action, as the original mother of the herd. At the end, Phabeni heads back to the orphanage for a milk bottle and some warmth and down time with Lammie and Spotty, and the herd head out into the bush for their wilderness walks with the carers.

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