Elephant TalesJabulani Herd

10 things you probably didn’t know about Jabulani, our rescued elephant

By 18th Feb 2016 No Comments

1. Jabulani was originally brought to The Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre by Dr. Gerrit Scheepers. He was in very bad shape, and in dire need of specialist care. His chances of survival were very slim.

2. Jabulani was lactose intolerant. This made finding a suitable milk formula (so critical to his survival) challenging.



3. Of all the humans that initially played a role in Jabulani’s life, only 2 remain – Lente and Adine Roode. They have been part of his journey from the very start.

4. Jabulani was given a surrogate sheep by the name of Skaap. She was a source of great comfort to the elephant, and played a large part in his survival. Sadly, the elephant rolled onto the sheep one night as the pair slept, and she could not survive his weight.


5. When Jabulani was 3 years old, an intensive programme commenced with the sole purpose of releasing him back to the wild on the Kapama Reserve. The resident herd unfortunately did not take an interest in him, and as there was a distinct threat to his life, the HESC team had to bring him back to their care. This story unfolded over an 18 month period, and was recorded by local wildlife documentary show, 50/50.



6. During the attempted release phase, Jabulani crossed the 10 000ha natural Big Five Kapama Reserve, and slept out in the bush with his caregiver – all in an attempt to keep him in the vicinity of the wild herd should they by some chance they take him in.


7. Jabulani eventually did join a herd, but a highly unexpected one in the form of 12 elephants rescued from near death on a farm in Zimbabwe in 2002. He was introduced to the herd – one by one – but it was Tokwe the matriarch who officially took him into the herd after symbolically placing her trunk in his mouth.



8. Two human care-givers stood at Jabulani’s side the entire time during this introduction.

9. Jabulani now spends most of his days out on the Kapama Reserve with the rest of his herd, and has a particular fondness for water and swimming.

10. He will sometimes visit Camp Jabulani, looking for Adine and Lente.


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