Orphaned albino elephant, Khanyisa's journey of survival is nothing short of inspirational! Her story has touched the world. She was found in January 2020, as a four-month old calf - alone, without her herd in sight, with a poacher's snare around her cheeks and ears. Her injuries were severe. Wildlife vets estimated that she spent four days stuck in the snare. Now two years old, Khanyisa (meaning Sunshine in Shona) is fully rehabilitated and has been integrating into a rescued elephant herd.
Khanyisa was born with the hardship of being an albino elephant in the wild, meaning that she is more sensitive to the harsh African sunlight, but she has learnt to cover herself with mud and sand to protect herself. She has overcome the snare wounds, the trauma of being orphaned, ill health, diarrhea and had a blood transfusion as we fought to get her through rehabilitation. Without her mother's milk, we have to specially formulate milk for her and adjust it to suit her changing needs.
HERD (Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation and Development) is South Africa's first dedicated elephant orphanage and provides a solution to the human-elephant conflict that has increased with poaching. HERD is a safe space where calves that are orphaned due to manmade problems can receive rehabilitation and integration into an elephant social structure where they can thrive and develop naturally. We are committed to providing Khanyisa with the care she needs and milk until she can be weaned.
Through HERD, orphaned elephants can heal and rejoin the social structure that is essential for these social animals, while in a reserve where they roam and forage naturally during the day. Every elephant matters. Every elephant needs a herd. Should the rescued herd continue to grow, they may split into two as with wild herds. At this time, we would ensure new grounds to relocate the herd into a wild environment that is safe and suitable for them, without the threat of human-elephant conflict.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).