A sense of belonging and companionship is known to greatly enhance the wellbeing of any living creature. Lammie, our resident Pedi sheep at HERD, has been a hero in providing this love and support to our baby elephant orphans, taking her role of devoted surrogate mother very seriously.

Lammie first became part of the family at HESC in 2014, where she was an “animal mom” to numerous orphaned rhinos and a few elephants too. Pedi lambs make excellent surrogate mothers, as they accept any animal as their own.

The Thaba-Manzi Pedi breed of sheep are known for their exceptional mothering skills, and often very protective of their young, having no fear against predators. They are very resilient animals and very rarely get sick. As you can see by Lammie’s body shape, they have a signature fat tail, where they store most of their fat. We love how Lammie has a cute bend and curve in hers!

This unique sheep quickly became a worldwide phenomenon as people fell in love with the incredible bond between her and her first adopted child, Gertjie, an orphaned rhino at HESC, staying by the little animal’s side continuously. While she began her role of motherhood as a resident companion to baby rhinos at the centre, she was soon introduced to her first young orphaned elephant – little Shawu. At first, she did not know what to make of the tiny animal and its curiously long nose, but proving her undeniable, natural motherly instincts, she quickly adopted Shawu as one of her own.

Lammie was an essential friend to Mopane at HESC and during the orphaned calf’s short time with us at HERD, from the moment the elephant arrived, providing an unconditional motherly touch and support for an animal in need.

Lammie continues to step up to her duties as surrogate mother to the elephant orphans at HERD. That she and the orphans are a different species makes no difference to them. Her endearing nature has been a great source of comfort for little Khanyisa since the orphan arrived at the orphanage, teaching us daily about true compassion.

She can be found walking, running, playing, eating and sleeping beside her new child, Khanyisa – a helicopter parent if ever there was one, but one that we greatly appreciate and owe so much to.