Khanyisa’s Big Third Birthday with HERD!

by jabulanisafari

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Celebrate Snare Survivor, Albino Elephant Orphan, Khanyisa!

News from HERD (Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation and Development), South Africa’s first dedicated elephant orphanage founded by Jabulani owner, Adine Roode.

The rare albino elephant orphan, Khanyisa, in the care of HERD elephant orphanage in South Africa turns 3 years of age this September and the team at HERD have been celebrating her milestones all month long on social media, with videos showcasing Khanyisa’s incredible journey from a four month old orphan to the heroine she is today.

These videos have shared a look back at the calf’s best moments with the elephants who love her: fellow orphans, Timisa and Kumbura for instance, as well as the humans who care for her: her carers and Adine Roode, Founder of HERD. HERD has featured a look at the snare survivor’s physical rehabilitation, the emotional memories and the joyful clips of her speed wobbles and runs.

Adine shares a heartfelt letter to Khanyisa that summarises the amazing journey this orphan calf has had at HERD and with the new elephant family that has accepted her as their own:

How did those little feet grow so big? We’ve been watching them nightly as you lie on your side sleeping that elephant sleep, trunk stretched out in front of you like the branch of a small tree, growing longer too before our eyes. The tread under your soles has deepened with new grooves as you’ve walked further and further with the family you now get to call yours. How one elephant could unite so many people is unbelievable but you were born special. Your albino skin may have made you different to everyone around you but it also made you stand out, and inspire others who feel different to others too, those who have endured the heartache and physical pain you endured. Your little feet have rallied a growing family of elephant lovers as they splashed in your garden pool and avoided those puddles, as they stamped over the lucerne bags and tyre tubes we gave you to keep those muscles working when you were too weak for the wild. Your feet have wobbled and marched and always excitedly carried you to your herd, to your new mother, your aunts, your sisters and brothers, your fathers. Your tribe. They have grown to accommodate your growth. They have grown to remind us that you aren’t that tiny fragile orphan who first arrived. They have grown to carry you on your next journey as you prepare to move out of the orphanage and into the homestead fully. We’ve watched those feet curled up at night on your hay bed, we’ve watched them hug Lammie and try to reach a suspicious Nungu. We won’t always be able to watch their every move, so we’ve been holding the moments we have seen close. Because you’ve been our days and nights, our smiles and tears, since that first day in January 2020. We hope this second chance at life has given you all it has given us. Dankie meisiekind. Tatenda. Thank you.

With love,


Watch Khanyisa’s 100 Sweetest Moments here >

Tune into HERD’s YouTube channel to watch the Khanyisa Month videos yourself!

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