It all starts with our elephant research in Africa. To increase our orphans’ chances of survival, wellbeing and successful integration into their new herd, we need to understand and consequently innovate more. Thus, in collaboration with the University of Pretoria and the University of Witwatersrand, we work with nature conservation and environmental science students to conduct valuable field research.


Elephant Ethology

This refers to the study of rescued elephants’ personalities. By observing their behaviour, we can understand elephant personalities and how to use this data to improve elephant translocation and reintegration procedures.


Elephant Dung

Ongoing studies into elephant dung enable us to determine how diet affects the rescued elephants. This way, we can monitor the effects of fibre levels in elephants’ diet and how dietary fluctuations influence stress.

By analysing dung and urine glucocorticoid levels with Dr André Ganswindt, Director of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Mammal Research Institute (University of Pretoria), we can successfully measure the stress levels experienced by our elephants.


Daily Operational Research and Data Capturing

Our daily operational research and data capturing allow us to develop ethical and responsible industry standards as we, South Africa’s first dedicated elephant orphanage, explore new ground.

Our partnership with wildlife veterinarians and other professionals qualifies us as a trailblazer in our field. We continually develop the best practice guidelines for sustainable, long-term orphaned elephant rehabilitation and reintegration.

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Notable Experience

The rehabilitation and reintegration of a rare albino calf (orphaned in January 2020 due to snaring) have allowed us to build a substantial body of research into albino elephants and how their condition affects the ageing process in the wild.


Donate to our research

Elephant Research in Africa Empowers Our Initiatives

Without research, we will go about our initiatives blindly. That’s why it forms such a big part of what we do at HERD. Your donations empower us to do better each day, painting a brighter future for our gentle giants and their future as a species.

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Help Save Our Vulnerable Gentle Giants

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.

Elephant Tales Blog

Want to hear the latest and greatest stories about what the elephants are up to? No two days are the same, and they always amaze us with their distinctive personalities and acceptance of one another. Follow us this way for all the latest stories of what’s happening at HERD.