Meet Herman - One of Khanyisa's dedicated elephant carers

February 20, 2020

A special carer of special elephants

Solani Herman Khoza, or Herman, as he's known to us, has been one of baby albino elephant, Khanyisa’s guiding lights at Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation and Development (HERD), in South Africa. Perhaps you've spotted him in our Instagram posts?

Khanyisa is an albino elephant calf that was found tangled in a terrible snare that had mutilated the back of her ears, neck and her face. The snare was embedded deep into her cheeks and mouth.

Above and beyond excellent veterinary care, Khanyisa needs the best round-the-clock care and all the love that she can get, to combat the emotional trauma that she endured for what we believe was four days, all on her own.

The members of our elephant care team at HERD have not only the knowledge and experience to care for a baby elephant, but most importantly they have kind hearts and nurturing souls that can connect with and love little Khanyisa like she deserves to be loved.

Friends who nap together...

One of those individual carers is Herman Khosa, who has stolen the worlds’ hearts with his connection with Khanyisa. However, his journey with elephants started a little later than the rest of the team of carers, as Adine Roode, our founder recognised his potential during Herman's
time working as a gardener in the neighbouring lodge, Jabulani.

Herman, now aged 38 years old, started working at Jabulani (then known as Camp Jabulani) in 2008. His hometown is Acornhoek in South Africa, one of our next-door communities. He was a valued and respected part of the Jabulani team and worked very hard at all times, always going above and beyond in his duties. On one occasion he even saved a General Manager's life from a lion!

Herman is always there to encourage little Khanyisa's growing appetite
Herman inspecting Khanyisa's growing little tusks

One of Herman’s responsibilities was to tend to the wormery. In 2016, Adine noticed just how lovingly and gently he would handle every worm, a little creature that he treated with such respect and care. It was then that Adine recognised something that not every human being
has - the quality to love and care for animals, beyond the call of duty and for no self-benefit.

Adine offered Herman the opportunity to train to work with elephants, baby elephants in particular, and he accepted it with open arms. His training started with the senior carers of Jabulani as they provided care for baby elephants like Mopane at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC) - where the orphans used to be reared, before our orphanage was built in 2019.

Caring for elephant orphans requires 24-hour attention and plenty of energy for front yard playtime.

Four years have passed since Herman started working with elephants and Adine’s foresight was not wrong. Herman has been incredible with the little ones and proved himself in a short space of time. Our photos and videos shared here are a testament to that.

Thank you, Herman, for all you do for HERD and our little pink warrior, Khanyisa!

If you would like to Donate towards Khanyisa's care go to https://herd.org.za/product/donate/ or if you would like to Foster Khanyisa: https://herd.org.za/foster-an-elephant/

Adine, Herman, Khanyisa and Lammie, out on a stroll at HERD
Playtime is more fun with friends around
You can't keep a curious little trunk down
On a cushion of bana grass, Khanyisa enjoys her milky meal from Herman

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