Orphan Calf Phabeni's Fundraiser

by Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation & Development
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Orphan Calf Phabeni's Fundraiser
Orphan Calf Phabeni's Fundraiser
Orphan Calf Phabeni's Fundraiser
Orphan Calf Phabeni's Fundraiser
Orphan Calf Phabeni's Fundraiser
Orphan Calf Phabeni's Fundraiser
Orphan Calf Phabeni's Fundraiser
Orphan Calf Phabeni's Fundraiser
Orphan Calf Phabeni's Fundraiser
Orphan Calf Phabeni's Fundraiser
Orphan Calf Phabeni's Fundraiser
Orphan Calf Phabeni's Fundraiser
Orphan Calf Phabeni's Fundraiser

Project Report | Mar 18, 2024
A New Family for Orphan Elephant, Phabeni!

By Sunel Craythorne | Fundraising Administrator

What a privilege to report back to you on orphan elephant calf, Phabeni.

Little Phabeni is the newest orphan at HERD and was rescued in November 2023 as a four-month-old weighing 122kg. The bull had endured small wounds after being displaced from his herd and showed signs of dehydration. His mother and herd were nowhere in sight and since heavy rains had fallen, their tracks could not be located. Phabeni quickly recovered in the care of the HERD team, receiving milk bottles around the clock, and plenty of love and attention from his carers and companion sheep, Lammie and Spotty. Phabeni was named after the gate where the HERD team collected him, on the boundary of the Kruger Park. Phabeni means “Shelter” in Sotho. HERD would now be his shelter, as he embarked on a journey of integration into a new elephant herd.

Phabeni has come a long way since he was first rescued. He has been an energetic and feisty young bull from the very beginning, but shows true peace now among the legs of the gentle giants in the herd. We started Phabeni’s integration phase by getting him used to the elephants in the rescued herd, first through the fence at the bottom of the orphanage garden and then trunk-to-trunk in the homestead. Older bull Jabulani, also once an orphan himself, spent many mornings with Phabeni during the months of December and January, standing at the fence daily for about an hour or so. Phabeni showed huge interest in Jabulani during these morning visits.

Over the summer, we took to introducing Phabeni to several of the other elephants, with no barrier, starting with Jabulani, then Lundi; then Sebakwe and Somopane; then Setombe and Klaserie; and then the rest of the herd: Tokwe, Fishan, Khanyisa, Kumbura, Limpopo, Pisa, Timisa, Mambo and Zindoga. Watch the first introduction to the whole herd here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBDIMIpxTv0

Throughout his introductions to the herd, it was clear that Setombe was set on becoming mother to Phabeni, as she adopted this role from the very beginning and continued to give Phabeni dedicated support and protection daily.

Shortly after the introductions, Phabeni showed that he was ready to join the elephants out in the bush, taking his milk bottles with him to drink among his new family. This was an amazing step in his integration. Over the months, we will be watching closely as he bonds more deeply with different individuals and gets used to the herd. It is amazing how well and how quickly the little bull has adapted to all the changes. He is showing such confidence and courage, letting us know that this is just the family for him. He is home.

Thank you for all your support towards the herd and specifically Phabeni.

Thank you for your ongoing support and compassion.

Yours in conservation

Adine and the HERD Team 

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Organization Information

Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation & Development

Location: Pretoria, Gauteng - South Africa
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @HERD_Elephants
Project Leader:
Adine Roode
Pretoria , Gauteng South Africa

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