The Herd Blog

  • HERD & Vet Books Visit the Local Community in a Rabies Awareness & Stop Snaring Campaign

    HERD and Vet Books for Africa recently embarked on a Rabies awareness campaign in the Bushbuckridge/ Acornhoek community, near to our reserve in Hoedspruit, South Africa. Vet Books for Africa is a student-run venture based at the University of Pretoria’s Onderstepoort Veterinary Campus. Established in 1993, the venture is aimed at empowering and strengthening bonds […]

  • Collaborating with University Students in the Name of Elephant Research

    Discover more about the latest research project being carried out at HERD, by Marco Reynders, who is studying a Masters at the University of Pretoria. I’m Marco Reynders. I study at the University of Pretoria. I’m doing a masters in animal production and quality. My study looks at the effect of feed management on the […]

  • Trails for Trunks | A HERD World Elephant Day Event

    Join us for a fun and healthy celebration of life and elephants over the weekend of World Elephant Day 12-14 August 2022, as we walk, run, cycle or do any form of exercise to raise funds and awareness for elephants for HERD’s Trails for Trunks Event! The event will run on the weekend from 12-14 […]

  • The Jabulani elephant herd
    How to Identify the Jabulani Herd Elephants

    There is more than one way to identify the Jabulani herd elephants. You can look at the elephants near them – Setombe is never far from Sebakwe, the allomothers take turns to look after Khanyisa, Mambo is frequently near Sebakwe or Zindoga in order to spar with them, and Kumbura is often following after Khanyisa. […]

  • What Makes Elephants so Amazing? Watch & Learn About Their Incredible Bonds

    Adine shares some insight into the emotional side of elephants, their intelligence, sensitivity, and complex social bonds. In this video below, we start with Lundi and her adoptive daughter, albino orphan, Khanyisa, foraging together and spending time with Adine. Both elephants show their concern for and interest in Adine’s wounds, also on her elbow, from […]

  • How To Tell Male From Female Elephants – Lessons From Carer Owen

    Today’s bush lessons with the elephants comes from Senior Elephant Carer, Owen! Watch as we spend time with Khanyisa, Timisa and the allomothers: Kumbura and Tokwe, with a visit from Fishan.     Hi, welcome, my name is Owen. Looking to a cow elephant, there are some features that are easy for you to pick […]

  • Two young Mpisi Primary School students hold up their Nkosi Superbars
    Building Strong Bodies and Minds | Weigh Day at Mpisi Primary School

    Today is Africa Day! This year’s theme is focused on nutrition, and how malnutrition and food insecurity can be addressed. In honour of this theme, we’re sharing the latest news from Mpisi Primary School and how the Nkosi Superbar nutrition programme is progressing.   An Update In order to determine the effectiveness of the Nkosi […]

  • The Bush Babies’ School Group Meet Sebakwe, Jabulani and Somopane

    We recently had the privilege of hosting a group of 22 students as part of a Bush Babies Environmental Educational, led by Lewyn Maefala. The Bush Babies’ environmentally-based education programme is currently offered to 10 schools in local communities surrounding the Greater Kruger National Park. It aims to provide guidance to our future generations, to […]

  • Baby Elephant Khanyisa Loses a Tooth & A New Dynamic Develops with Kumbura & Lundi!

    Some extraordinary news is revealed from Carer Last in these scenes! The day starts with Lammie and Nungu as Khanyisa gets her morning milk bottles in the nursery from Carer Reply, and then it’s off to the bush with the elephants! Khanyisa and Kumbura are side by side, as they often are, with Lundi close […]

  • Meet the HERD Elephant Carers

    Our HERD Elephant Carers are the backbone of our work in caring for, providing for and protecting elephants orphaned or displaced due to human-elephant conflict. They are men and woman of great qualities – patience, dedication, empathy, compassion, strength, and knowledge. As a team, the carers spend up to twelve hours a day with the […]

  • Matriarch Tokwe standing next to daughter Pisa, adoptive daughter Timisa, and daughter Limpopo, with the homestead in the back
    Welcome to the Elephant Homestead

    Have you ever wondered where the elephants stay at night? During the day, the elephants spend their time in the wilderness with their carers, but at night you can find them at their homestead. Here are the answers to all the questions you may have about the homestead.   Where is the homestead? The homestead […]

  • Meet Tokwe: The Elephants’ Matriarch & Mother of the Herd

    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 […]

  • Elephant Carer Shepherd
    Get To Know Elephant Carer – Shepherd Nkomazana

    Shepherd Nkomazana is one of our dear elephant carers working to care for the rescued elephant herd and orphans. He is a Level 2 Elephant Carer! Originally from Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, he has been with us since 2017 and has been working alongside elephants since 2000. He has plenty of knowledge about these gentle giants! […]

  • Albino elephant calf Khanyisa
    How Being an Albino Affects Orphan Elephant Calf, Khanyisa

    In this blog, we focus on Khanyisa’s eyesight as an albino elephant. One of the first things people notice about Khanyisa are her eyes. Unlike the other elephants in the herd, Khanyisa has extremely light eyes – from a distance her eyes may even look white. We frequently receive questions about Khanyisa’s eyes, as people […]

  • A Hundred HERD Thank You’s & More | Elephant Blessings

    March 2022 If we had to count the number of Thank You’s we owed everyone who has played a role in helping us at HERD, we would be turning to the infinity of the sky for answers about where to start. We are grateful for every little and big and medium-sized donation, every gesture of […]

  • Jabulani the Elephant Bull Turns 25 | From Orphan to Herd Member

    Jabulani’s Journey Jabulani was rescued in 1997, the same year Adine’s son, Xander was born. It’s not something you forget easily and it laid the foundation, like many other experiences in Adine’s life, for the future of elephant rehabilitation and integration.     Adine wasn’t as involved with the elephants in the early days as […]

  • The Long-Term Rewilding of the Jabulani Herd and Elephant Orphans

    The Reintegration of the Jabulani Herd Our long-term goal in stepping in to help rescue and provide a safe and protected wilderness home to a herd that was in need has always been full reintegration into the wild. When HERD Founder, Adine’s mother Lente rescued and accepted the responsibility of keeping the original Jabulani herd […]

  • An Elephant Lesson in Accepting Those Different To You

    People often ask us if the elephants can tell that Khanyisa is an albino. There will always be things about elephants, even the rescued and orphan elephants in our care and protection, that we do not know. But we try in our limited human ways to understand as best we can, by comparing and studying […]

  • Dominant Bull Elephant, Sebakwe Goes on a Nighttime Bender

    As one of our followers said recently, you can have a routine but you never know what will happen in a day to throw that routine out! Nature, or rather the elephants, often have their own plans and in this case it was Sebakwe who was wooed by the lure of a wild bull to […]

  • The JabuLadies Grasslands Restoration Project Phase 2!

    HERD help * empower * restore * develop   The JabuLadies Team have been busy with not only embroidery, dung paper and dung soap projects as part of our women’s empowerment initiative, but also contributing to our land management projects in the reserve. The team currently consists of Linkie, Patience and Thulisile, with Miriam as […]

  • The Love Between A Pink Baby Elephant Orphan & Her Human Carer, Adine 

    In this new morning video, at the orphanage, Khanyisa gets plenty of love tickles and tummy rubs as she explores the garden before her day with the bigger elephants. Elephants love to rub their skin against rocks or trees to scratch an itch or for a body massage. The rubs from her human carers provided […]

  • A Walk in the Wild with Khanyisa & the Elephant Herd

      Elephant Grooming with Jabulani & A Walk with Baby Khanyisa & the Herd — PART 1 We start this new day at the waterhole, having left the homestead and orphanage and stopping by the dam for a drink. It’s early in the morning but the elephants and Carers are on the move and going […]

  • Nutrition for Little Minds | A HERD Community Initiative – Get Involved!

    Before the Covid-19 pandemic, 1 in 3 children in South Africa suffered from malnutrition. That number has grown since the pandemic. During early childhood, some of the most critical physical and cognitive development takes place, often charting the course for the rest of the individual’s development. Our partnership with a nearby school in Hoedspruit, called […]

  • HERD New Year Affirmations to Inspire You in 2022

    A brand-new year invites hope, rejuvenation, and a chance to set aspirations for the year ahead. We have learnt so many life lessons from the herd over the past few years and hope their incredible personalities will inspire you too. We hope they’ll help you to set your intentions for the year ahead, starting with […]

  • A Day in the Life of Baby Elephant Orphan, Khanyisa

    Raising a baby elephant A glimpse into a day beside a baby elephant orphan at HERD (Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation & Development, South Africa’s first dedicated elephant orphanage), as numerous hands and trunks take on the role of raising a calf and giving it a second chance at life in a herd. Mornings come early in […]

  • Baby Elephant Khanyisa & Her Babysitter, Klaserie

    You may be used to seeing Khanyisa being looked after by either her adoptive mother, Lundi or closest allomother, Kumbura, but today it is Klaserie who takes on the duty of babysitter. Bubi, Limpopo, and Tokwe also step in here and there throughout the day. Klaserie is a wonderful allomother to Khanyisa as she is […]

  • The Art of Elephant Dung Collection | The Making of Elephant Dung Gin

    We recently got together with the Indlovu team, the makers of Jabulani’s JabuGin (made from the dung of the rescued elephant herd) to collect fresh dung for the next batch of gin which is made down in the Western Cape of South Africa. Paula and Les Ansley created the world’s very first elephant dung gin, […]

  • Matriarch’s Daughter, Female Elephant, Pisa is a Leader in the Making

    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 […]

  • Herds of Thanks to our Friends & Supporters! | HERD’s Gratitude Blog

    “The more grateful I am, the more beauty I see.” ~ Mary Davis As we head towards the end of the year, there are many words of thanks HERD has to offer for all the support we’ve received in the past few months! HERD is a registered PBO and relies on public funding to support […]

  • Tiny Tusker Timisa’s Five Year Journey with the Jabulani Herd

    Around this time five years ago, a very special little orphaned elephant began her journey with the Jabulani herd. Timisa was found wandering on her own, on 19 November 2016 with no sign of her herd. Her mother had very sadly died as a result of a severe drought in the area about two weeks […]

  • Empowerment, Embroidery & Elephants – Meet the JabuLadies!

    Our Community of JabuLadies is Growing   It began with leader, Miriam Mahladisa, a long-time employee working with us, and the Jabulani lodge housekeeping team, and now our JabuLadies Team is growing to include more ladies from the direct community around us here in Hoedspruit, such as Patience Mabunda, Thulisile Malatule and Linkie Malatole seen […]

  • Lammie the Legendary Sheep’s Journey Over the Years

    “We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?” asked Piglet. “Even longer,” Pooh answered. ~ A.A. Milne The title of ‘legend’ isn’t one that’s handed out without careful consideration. If you ask us, no sheep could be more deserving of legend status than kind and compassionate Lammie. A sense of belonging and companionship is known to […]

  • An Update on Elephant Bull Survivor, Fishan

    “The most beautiful people I’ve known are those who have known trials, have known struggles, have known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.” ~ Elizabeth Kübler-Ross Born in 1989, Fishan, meaning ‘something smaller’, has been through many hardships over the years, but this has never stopped him from embracing life with […]

  • Swimming Trunks & the Elephant’s Love of the Waterhole

    In our wilderness in South Africa, we are coming out of a long dry winter that kept us all covered, including little Khanyisa in her woolly and fleece blankets, in the chilly mornings and evenings. The sun is now rising much earlier and setting later, giving us more time in the day for garden grazing […]

  • The Making of a Sustainable HERD | Through Conservation

    Our objectives at HERD (Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation and Development) speak to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity. These goals, like […]

  • Conservation Fun and Sustainable Development with Mpisi Primary School

    “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” ~ Coretta Scott King HERD is very proud to be part of a wonderful ongoing partnership with Mpisi Primary School, which is located just a short distance from us in Hoedspruit. The school has roughly 800 learners from Grade R […]

  • Elephants standing under the homestead canopy at night
    How to Make an Elephant Bed — The HERD Homestead

    The Hard Work Behind the Scenes As a rescued herd, the Jabulani elephants spend their sunrise to sunset hours each day out in their wilderness with their Carers, while at night these once orphans and now family members gather in their homestead area to spend the night time hours. Our Carers remain on duty to […]

  • A Home For Elephants & Humans Alike | Protecting Our Habitats

    Today two important days unite – World Habitat Day and World Animal Day and it gives us a chance to spread awareness of not only the elephant species that we are dedicated to at HERD but also the habitats that support them and the settlements around them. Habitats are a vital focus in conservation and […]

  • Khanyisa’s Great & Growing Feet #KhanyisaGoingOnTwo

    From adorable stumbles to slow and steady steps, Khanyisa’s feet have undergone a fair bit of change in the past year – much like the rest of her growing little albino body. The calf is turning two on 26 September 2021 – an estimated date given by our wildlife vets. She has learnt so much […]

  • A Baby Elephant’s Journey of Healing from Snare Victim to Survivor

    She was unlike anything we had seen before, a tiny albino elephant with light blue eyes like the ocean and puffy pink cheeks. She stood not even at hip-height to us. She was so young, only four months old, and had already been through such a tremendous tragedy: she had lost her mother, her herd, […]

  • Nungu the Nurturer | A Companion Sheep To Elephant Orphans

    When it comes to raising orphaned elephant calves, friendship and the loving touch of a kind and caring soul is vital for the orphan. The companion sheep of HERD know this to be true and work around the clock to ensure that the young elephants at the orphanage feel safe and warm and cherished. This […]

  • How’s Kumbura Doing? | An Update on a Special Elephant Orphan

    Listen to Tigere share an update on the very special elephant orphan in our care, Kumbura ~ An Elephant Reminder of Love and Perseverance. Kumbura has successfully integrated into the herd and has been a marvel over the years in terms of adapting to her new family and becoming a loving allomother and guardian for […]

  • How We Keep the Elephant Herd Well Nourished All Year Round

    What it Takes to Keep the Herd Nourished Elephants are the largest terrestrial animals on the planet. Considering their size, it is understandable that they have to consume large quantities of food. On average, an adult African elephant requires about 100-270 kilograms of food and 160 litres of water per day. To ensure that they […]

  • A Matriarch’s Daughter | Young Elephant Limpopo Turns 15

    Limpopo is an allomother, a Matriarch’s daughter, a friend and sister… Constantly fascinated in the world around her, amazed and enthused by everything, with her detective’s trunk, determined walk, see-all eyes, and cheeky confident character. Today we celebrate her 15 years of life, her adventures across the wilderness each day with her family, young and […]

  • A Celebration of Elephants with our Carers

    Find out more about what the Jabulani herd and orphans of HERD mean to the Elephant Carers who spend each day with these very special mammals.

  • Trunkfuls of Art – A HERD Elephant Art Competition

    This year in celebration of World Elephant Day 2021, we launched our Trunkfuls of Art competition, where we asked creatives from all over the world to create a piece of art inspired by HERD, using any method or material that they like. Entrants were required to donate a small entry fee, to submit their art […]

  • Orphan Albino Elephant Khanyisa Gets Tusks!

    As rare albino elephant orphan, Khanyisa approaches around two years of age in September this year, we have been looking forward to a new milestone presenting itself, and little by little it has: Khanyisa has tusks! Having seen Khanyisa come into HERD (Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation and Development), as a suffering four-month-old snare victim, with severe […]

  • Exciting Elephant Art Projects at our partner Mpisi Primary School

    We become successful by what we get, but we become happy by what we give… We are celebrating the start of a beautiful new journey with our surrounding communities and growing our human HERD. Junior Nursery Carer, Khensani has been leading the way as we build our partnership with Mpisi Primary School close to us in Hoedspruit […]

  • Jabulani’s Journey & Bond with Khanyisa

    Elephant orphan, Jabulani shares a similar story to Khanyisa. At just 4 months old he was found abandoned in a manmade mud pit. It was clear he had fallen into the hole and was unable to get himself out. He had injuries that proved that his herd must have desperately tried to save him until […]

  • Introducing New HERD Elephant Orphanage Carer, Willinton

    Willinton is new to the team and an already valuable HERD member, a kind, dedicated, and enthusiastic carer to Khanyisa. Willinton spends most of his time with the calf and the pair have already formed a beautiful bond. It’s vital to have more than one carer tending to an orphan as elephant calves bond so […]

  • Youngest Elephant Allomother in the Herd, Kumbura

    The youngest allomother in the herd… But one so beautifully and naturally equipped for the role… is Kumbura, one of the orphan elephants integrated successfully into the herd. Kumbura has taken to Khanyisa just as she did with little Timisa, following the calf everywhere with such tender love and dedicated care and concern. This video […]

  • Beautiful Bubi, Adoring Elephant Allomother & Mother

    In the local language of Sesotho, it is, “Mafutsana a llelana” and it means that people who are poor, troubled or disadvantaged in some way help each other because they know the pain. This couldn’t be more true for Bubi, who is an orphan herself. She makes sure that the orphans around her are comforted […]

  • Limpopo’s Gentle Giant Show of Motherly Elephant Love

    Named after a river in Zimbabwe and a province in South Africa, Limpopo is a typical little Tokwe – her mother and the Matriarch in the herd. She is caring, curious, intuitive, dedicated, protective, and adoring… Sometimes overly so. Born 19 August 2006, Limpopo was the first elephant calf born to the Jabulani herd and […]

  • Curious, Playful Allomother, Female Elephant Klaserie

    Klaserie is named after a river in South Africa, that flows past our reserve, the Kapama Private Game Reserve. She was born on 23 February 2007 to Setombe – it is not known who the father is, whether it is a bull in the Jabulani herd or in a wild herd. Klaserie was the second […]

  • Protective & Loving Dominant Bull Elephant, Sebakwe

    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 […]

  • Marvelous Mambo, Young Elephant Bull and Big Brother

    On this glorious day out, young bull, Mambo enjoys a momentous mud bath with Kumbura and Limpopo, before Mom, Lundi joins in. The pair, mother and son, enjoy some very special bonding time applying sand after their time in the mud, loosening the sand with the edges of their strong feet and then tossing it […]

  • Growing our HERD – With Mpisi Primary School

    We are excited to be starting new relationships with different schools around us in Hoedspruit, starting with the school that our junior carer, Khensani attended many moons ago… Mpisi Primary School. Khensani has been leading the way as we build a partnership with the school to join forces and work together in exciting ways that […]

  • The Anatomy of an Elephant ~ The Jacobson Organ

    A Silent Language When it comes to the life of an elephant, little is more important than the senses they rely on. Taste, sight, hearing, smell, and touch are all essential to the daily lives of mammals like elephants, with each sense complementing and compensating for the other. From tracking down fresh new grass and […]

  • HERD’s Gratitude Blog ~ June 2021

    Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude… Our hearts seem very small beside the gentle giants in the Jabulani herd, and increasingly smaller beside growing Khanyisa, but how they seem and how they feel are two different things. With the immense support […]

  • What it means when we call elephants “ecosystem engineers”

    Elephants are considered as ecosystem engineers, sculpting the landscape they move through and creating microhabitats for smaller mammals and invertebrates as well as facilitating much needed plant diversity. As the Jabulani elephant herd and wild elephant herds in the reserve continue to grow in size, with new calves, and considering that elephants live to more […]

  • It takes guts to raise a baby elephant… | Elephant Digestion

    It takes nerves of steel and sometimes, when the little pachyderm is tugging on your tail or the rains just won’t come, it takes patience and a cool head. It also requires the transfer of symbiotic microbial bacteria from the gut of the mother to the gut of the elephant calf. From their cute little […]

  • Milk Makes The Elephant Go Round | Feeding Orphan Elephant Calves

    The longer they take to stand upright and keep those shaky little waif limbs firm on their new planet, the scarier it gets for mother and child. Baby needs its milk and will stay beside Mom for years, drinking milk from her teat for somewhere between four to five years old. Sometimes even longer, sometimes […]

  • Albino Baby Elephant, Khanyisa & Her Journey in Blankets

    She is an already unusual sight… a little pink elephant with blonde tail hairs and trunk whiskers and white-blue eyes… But with her multi-coloured range of blankets that hug her body on cold evenings and mornings, Khanyisa is a vision. A unique orphan-no-longer, her journey has been anything but usual, with her second chance at […]

  • Elephants & Their Families: The Importance of Social Structures Within a Herd

    For an elephant, there is nothing quite as important as the love provided and bonds created by their families. These phenomenal mammals depend extensively on one another, not only for protection and survival but also for the emotional connections that are crucial for any elephant to thrive.   The importance of family While most of […]

  • An Inspiring Q&A with Wildlife Vet, Dr Peter Rogers

    For World Veterinary Day, we are celebrating all the incredible wildlife vets who have played vital roles in our work with elephants and other animals over the years: Dr Peter Rogers and the team at Provet Wildlife Services, Dr Johan Marais of Saving the Survivors, and Dr Ben Muller who accompanied Adine and Khanyisa after […]

  • Stop Snaring ~ A Multi-Language Message from Our Elephant Carers

    We invite classrooms across the country or continent to share these videos with your students and spread the message! #STOPSNARING Our multi-language videos about snaring aim to reach more and more people across South Africa and beyond, and will form part of our community collaborations in schools, starting with English, Sotho, Shangaan and Shona. Watch […]

  • Stop Snaring ~ The Pandemic Facing Elephants Big & Small Curious African elephants, with their 18 hour-a-day eating plan, are constantly on the lookout for nutritious fruit, bark and fresh green shoots. It is little wonder that they get caught up in the almost invisible wire snares set by poachers to catch, most often, much smaller animals for bush meat, such as zebra, eland or [...]
  • Learning from the Giants | A Study into the Personality of Elephants

    “There is a powerful force unleashed when young people resolve to make a change.” ― Jane Goodall Once in a while, we have the time and opportunity to give a nature conservation or environmental science student the chance to carry out valuable practical research work in our reserve, as part of their academic studies. It […]

  • Taking Care of the Land that Cares for Us ~ A HERD Project

    Just as the elephants need to be sustained, supported and protected, so too does the land that they roam across, that sustains and supports them. The beauty but also difficulty of conservation is how interlinked every part of the whole is. Much like caring for a baby elephant orphan, there are many factors to give […]

  • Carers, Owen & Godknows Go Elephant Tracking with Elephants Alive

    “But perhaps the most important lesson I learned is that there are no walls between humans and the elephants except those we put up ourselves, and that until we allow not only elephants, but all living creatures their place in the sun, we can never be whole ourselves.” ― Lawrence Anthony It was time to […]

  • The Anatomy of an Elephant ~ The Elephant’s Hair

    Elephants are anything but hirsute, but their sparse, strategically-placed hair is as important to them as is the head-to-toe covering preferred by many other mammals. Keratin is the fibrous structural protein that is the main component of hair, fur, wool and even pangolin scales and this hairiness is one of the defining characteristics of all […]

  • Farewell Fenya ~ You Are Always in our Hearts

    It is with deep sadness that we share the passing of Fenya, an orphaned elephant calf that was found and rescued on 17 February 2021. The young calf fought so hard and so did our team, who worked tirelessly over the past few weeks to try to save her precious life. Fenya was brought into […]

  • The Blood Transfusion from Setombe That Helped Orphan Elephant, Fenya

    Since Fenya, the second elephant calf snare victim brought into our care, arrived on 17 February 2021, she has had a bumpy ride, suffering the complications of her severe starvation and dehydration, even more so than the effects of her devastating wounds caused by the poacher’s wire snare around her head. Our HERD care team […]

  • A New Orphan Elephant Calf at HERD: Fenya the Survivor

    This young female elephant calf was found on a private game reserve in Phalaborwa, in Limpopo province by local resident, Willem Botha and his son, Liam. She had a wire snare wrapped tightly around her head which had caused severe wounds, however, she had managed to dislodge the snare from where it had been secured. […]

  • The Joys of African Elephants & Cool Wet Mud

    The rains have been blessing our reserve abundantly lately and many parts of South Africa and it’s not gone unnoticed by the elephants! On this walk in the bush, the herd take great advantage of the mud beneath their feet. Klaserie, Setombe, Mambo and Sebakwe in particular enjoy the glorious cooling mud on this rainy […]

  • The Intricacies of Caring for a Baby Elephant! – An Update on Khanyisa’s Weight

    Sunshine Khanyisa Braveheart A Blog by Adine Roode, Founder of HERD… You might have noticed Khanyisa getting very tall lately! It’s always more visible when you see her beside a human rather than another much larger elephant. Sunshine not only grew some long and lean legs before our eyes but she is filling out nicely […]

  • Khanyisa’s Big Year | The Albino Elephant Calf’s One Year Anniversary at HERD

    Today we are celebrating the anniversary of Khanyisa arriving at HERD – how time has flown! One year ago, Khanyisa arrived in our care at HERD, on that momentous day: 8 January 2020. We have shared her journey through rehabilitation and integration into a new herd with you every step of the way, showing the […]

  • The Anatomy of an Elephant – The Elephant’s Tail

    Jabulani herd elephant bull, Mambo’s strong, 11-year-old tail Oh, The Tales This Tail Can Tell As humans, we have built all kinds of clever tools to make our daily lives easier, in the name of progress. But something must be said for the ingenuity of having and using the built-in utensils that you were born […]

  • Remembering Mopane – Gone but never forgotten

    Last year December, a few weeks before Khanyisa was found and rescued, we experienced the terrible loss of a special young elephant that was loved by so many, far and wide. Mopane – we miss him every day. We cannot help but think of the close bond Mopane and Khanyisa may have had now. No doubt he […]

  • The Interesting Interactions Between the Jabulani Herd & Wild Elephants

    Jabulani herd Matriarch, Tokwe and the herd We share our reserve, the Kapama Private Game Reserve in South Africa, with many animals. Buffalo, giraffe, lion, leopard, hippo, impala, beautiful birdlife, elusive caracal and pangolin, and of course elephant… Both wild herds and the Jabulani herd of rescued elephants who have created a herd of their […]

  • Lammie the Loving Legend Gets a Haircut

    Lammie is the sweet surrogate superstar at the orphanage, who has given Khanyisa attentive company, warmth and joy since the little albino orphan first arrived at HERD in January this year. Lammie the Legend, we call her, for her love and patience and loyalty know no bounds. Born in 2014, she has been a friend […]

  • Elephant Relations – The Connection Between Elephants, Sea Cows & Dassies

    The Jabulani herd and Khanyisa drinking at the dam “You can choose your friends but you sho’ can’t choose your family, an’ they’re still kin to you no matter whether you acknowledge ’em or not, and it makes you look right silly when you don’t.” – Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Elephants have been […]

  • The Anatomy of an Elephant ~ The Elephant’s Tusks

    Tokwe the Matriarch “If elephants didn’t exist, you couldn’t invent one. They belong to a small group of living things so unlikely they challenge credulity and common sense.” – Lyall Watson, South African botanist, zoologist, biologist, anthropologist, ethologist. Tusks are teeth, elongated and projecting incisors with the same physical characteristics as most mammalian teeth. There is […]

  • The Anatomy of an Elephant ~ The Elephant Ear

    Khanyisa and her distinctive albino ear – the effects of the snare she was caught in leaving a section of the top of her left ear missing. Playing it By Ear An elephant’s ears, with all of the nicks, notches, holes and missing bits is one of a kind and can serve a similar purpose […]

  • Khanyisa Turns One! Happy Birthday, Braveheart!

    Sunshine’s Grand Adventure Khanyisa’s nine-month journey of rehabilitation and integration into the Jabulani Herd at HERD, South Africa’s first dedicated elephant orphanage, has been one we will remember for a lifetime. Not only because of the immense support from fosters and donors and followers on social media, who have followed her little journey throughout a […]

  • Khanyisa’s Big Year | The Albino Elephant Calf’s One Year Anniversary at HERD

    Today we are celebrating the anniversary of Khanyisa arriving at HERD – how time has flown! One year ago, Khanyisa arrived in our care at HERD, on that momentous day: 8 January 2020. We have shared her journey through rehabilitation and integration into a new herd with you every step of the way, showing the […]

  • The Beauty of Sustainable Living – The Wormery Project at HERD

    It has long been a dream of ours to create an aquaponics and wormery farm that could complement the work at both Jabulani, the lodge and HERD, in sustainable ways. Firstly, as a way to work toward creating a space with zero waste, and secondly to enable a place for learning – about not only […]

  • Let Sleeping Elephants Lie – How Elephants Sleep!

    Sleeping Beauty… Young orphan African baby elephants raised and cared for in orphanages seem to prefer sleeping, similar to us humans, in a safe, warm and comfy spot. They enjoy a soft bed of straw or grass to lie on and a multi-coloured blanket to keep them warm when the night-time and their own body […]

  • The Anatomy of an Elephant – Elephant Trunks!

    Sleeping Sunshine and her sweet pink trunk! Khanyisa was born, like all elephants with an unruly and headstrong trunk, a proboscis or snout that takes its new owner some getting used to. Even its name is somewhat of a mystery as we swim in trunks, use them for storage, make trunk calls and drive on […]

  • The Anatomy of an Elephant – Elephant Skin!

    Jabulani’s Skinny Folds African elephants have been wondering around in their wrinkled and ill-fitting full-body suits for about 5 million years, but it wasn’t until 2018 that an in-depth study of their skin revealed the mystery behind their less-than-sleek appearance. An African elephant’s skin is its largest organ and can weigh up to 900 kilograms, […]

  • What it Takes to Care for Baby Elephants: #6 Funding

    We are so grateful to the kind hearts that donate toward the vital work of HERD, South Africa’s first dedicated elephant orphanage, helping us to save, rehabilitate and rewild orphaned elephants. From day one, many of you reading this have stepped in to assist – to be useful, honourable and compassionate and to make a difference. You […]

  • A True Survivor, Kumbura ~ An Orphan Successfully Integrated into the Jabulani Herd

    Meet kind Kumbura, another orphan that has been lovingly accepted into the Jabulani herd – 11 years ago! Kumbura’s incredible story of how she came to be at Jabulani reveals so much about this special elephant, about conservation and about the need for a herd. It is a tale of going above and beyond, not […]

  • Khanyisa’s Momentous 6 Month Journey at HERD

    Orphaned Albino Elephant Calf Khanyisa’s successful six-month journey of rehabilitation at HERD. It has been an incredible six months of rehabilitation and phased integration into the Jabulani herd for little albino elephant calf, Khanyisa at HERD (Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation and Development), South Africa’s first dedicated elephant orphanage.  Watch the Journey So Far Here Khanyisa was […]

  • What it Takes to Care for Baby Elephants: #5 Teamwork

    We’ve introduced you to the elephant carers at HERD who have the very important role of looking after the orphans and their rehabilitation and integration into the Jabulani herd. A full and demanding job! But there is a greater team at work and that is essential to the goal of raising baby elephants orphans. The […]

  • The Beauties of Bana Grass – aka “Elephant Grass”

    You may have seen us carting bana grass around, to and from the nursery and stables, or watched the Jabulani herd and Khanyisa contentedly chewing and eating the long fresh grass, but we wanted to let you know more about it! Its source and purpose… The Jabulani bana grass plantation is a sustainable, fortunate and convenient […]

  • What it Takes to Care for Baby Elephants: #4 Milk

    One of the greatest challenges and essentials in caring for baby elephant orphans is making and providing the correct milk formula to ensure that fast-growing calves receive the correct nutrition. To keep the orphans healing well, growing strong and roaming energetically, we need to provide them with the energy to do so. When they first arrive at HERD, […]

  • Bubi injures Timisa

    Timisa, the youngest of the Jabulani herd, and an orphaned elephant accepted into the herd, experienced Bubi’s protective and often possessive behaviour over Khanyisa, firsthand. Recently, while in the wild of the reserve, Bubi got upset with Timisa while she was playing (too much for Bubi’s liking) with Khanyisa, and unfortunately hurt Timisa with her […]

  • The Fatherly Figures in Khanyisa’s Elephant Family

    Happy Father’s Day! What better opportunity than to highlight the male elephants that currently play a role in Khanyisa’s new life with her new herd, the Jabulani Herd. The older Jabulani Bulls are Jabulani, Fishan, Sebakwe and Somopane Each morning Khanyisa joins the Jabulani herd as they depart at sunrise to forage out on the […]

  • What it Takes to Care for Baby Elephants: #3 Carers

    The Heart and Soul of HERD One of the great essentials in caring for baby elephant orphans at HERD is our Carers! It takes a special person to look after elephant orphans around-the-clock and we are grateful to have a strong team of such people, at HERD and Jabulani. Our loving and passionate carers are […]

  • What it Takes to Care for Baby Elephants: #2 Family

    Family means never leaving anyone behind… Everything about elephant herd dynamics revolves around the cohesion and strength and survival of the herd. Every elephant needs a herd and while caring for them, this is not only constantly front of mind for us, it’s our very purpose at HERD. Whether it’s the family we’re born into, […]