HERD Trust (Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation and Development) was established in 2021 following a 24-year journey in caring for elephants displaced or orphaned due to human-elephant conflict. As South Africa's first dedicated elephant orphanage and homestead, HERD Trust supports a total of 16 elephants, 11 orphans who found a new family with each other, and 5 elephants born to them. We are committed to ensuring the elephants' well-being for their natural lives. Every elephant needs a herd.
In 2021, African Savanna Elephants were listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List, as over 60% of the population is estimated to have been lost since 1965. Elephants have strong family bonds and delicate social dynamics are integral to their wellbeing. Because of this, orphaned elephant calves have a slim chance of survival in the wild. They need a family to survive. Poaching and other human-elephant conflict has created a need for a space where orphans can rehabilitate and reintegrate.
HERD Trust relies on public funding to support the elephants in our care. Our mission is to provide safe rehabilitation for elephants in need and a supportive environment for integrated herd members, to ensure their well-being. The herd in our care provides a family for orphans to be reintegrated into. Our highly experienced team of dedicated carers provide each elephant with excellent protection and support, both out in the wilderness during the day or in the orphanage or homestead at night.
HERD Trust has a long-term plan for elephant rewilding for those elephants that are able to be fully reintegrated into the wild. We provide opportunities for research. Elephants are vital to the ecosystem. Providing a herd for orphans to integrate into helps to undo the damage of human-elephant conflict and create solutions for elephant conservation. We develop and leverage the role of elephants in contributing to local development and provide career opportunities for elephant carers.