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Elephant Tales

Important developments within the Jabulani elephant herd

By 9th May 2012 No Comments

Mpfuri with the wild elephant herd on Kapama Game Reserve

There have been a few important shifts in the dynamics of the Camp Jabulani elephant herd of late.

Sebakwe, Mpfuri and Fishan joined the wild elephant herd on the Kapama Reserve on Friday evening, the 27th of April. They did not return for the rest of the day. The cows of the Camp Jabulani herd were slightly unsettled, and the decision was taken to cancel the late afternoon elephant safari.

Early the following morning, Sebakwe and Fishan were back. They were clearly in high spirits as they grazed in the long grass (and even up-rooted a sprinkler or two!). It was quite something to watch the communications between Sebakwe and Fishan and the rest of the herd as they came out of the stables to greet the new day. It is at times like these that I wish I could speak “Elephant”!

As the herd was saddled and waited for the safari to start, the free roaming youngsters went to Sebakwe and Fishan and sniffed them.


Mpfuri didn’t return, and although we went to the wild herd to see if he would come to the grooms, he stayed with either the wild bulls or the group with cows and calves. He is still not the dominant bull in the wild herd. Despite this, he has been seen to give the dominant bull a hard time, proving his strength. An interesting dynamic, as in the trained herd he was inferior to Sebakwe.

It has been decided that Mpfuri should now stay with the wild herd.

Considering the tragic developments following Joe’s departure from the trained Camp Jabulani herd in 2010, it is important that we draw a few parallels between Joe and Mpfuri.

On the night of the 7th May, the wild herd visited the stables. Although Mpfuri didn’t come as close to the stables as Joe originally did, nor has he been inclined to visit with the trained herd, he has been gone from the stables and the trained herd for too long now.

We believe that if we encourage him to stay with the wild herd permanently, he will adjust to the life of a wild animal successfully.

Mpfuri was never as attached to humans as Joe was, and even in his interactions with the trained herd he chose to spend more with the elephants – he was not prone to seeking human interaction.

This decision is unequivocal. At no time will Mpfuri be allowed to return to the trained herd, nor will interactions between him and the trained herd be permitted.

Although we are saddened by his departure, we remain hopeful that he will make a smooth transition to a balanced and well-adjusted life in the wild.

We will keep you posted on his progress,

Warm regards,


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