It is strange to think it was close on 17 years since Tokwe (the Jabulani herd Matriarch), reached out and placed her trunk into Jabulani’s little mouth as a loving sign to comfort him and welcome him into the herd. There are many of our team members that will never forget that poignant moment.
He was an orphan who had craved the company of fellow elephants for five years following his rescue, as he was found abandoned and brought into the care of Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC). The centre tried on numerous occasions to introduce him to the wild herds, none of which were successful.
Fate brought a threatened herd of elephants from Zimbabwe into the path of Lente Roode, who rescued them without hesitation, and in the hope that it could be a herd that would accept Jabulani.
Fortunately, her hope was not shortlived, and it was the start of a beautiful beginning for a brave and bolshy young elephant with his new family.
But the herd have not limited their warm welcome of orphans to just Jabulani. They have since accepted an additional three orphans without hesitation. They are now a “family in waiting” for two young elephant calves, Mopane and Raekie, who are currently being cared for at HESC.
Mopane has been at HESC since December 2017. He was found wandering on his own in the Kruger National Park, close to Phalaborwa. He was dehydrated and weak, and approximately one month old. We estimate he was born in November 2017.
Raekie is a female calf, who was found on her own recently in the Imfolozi Game Reserve in KZN, in October 2018. She was estimated to be two months at the time, but strong and in good health.
Raekie’s presence has brought much-needed company for Mopane, and although Mopane would have been due to join the herd shortly, it has been decided to keep him with Raekie for the company until we feel that she is ready to meet her new family, together with Mopane.
During their time at HESC, they become familiar with a few of our elephant carers, that also work shifts at HESC to help look after the orphans, due to their valuable experience. Their presence at Camp Jabulani will bring a sense of comfort and familiarity when the little ones join the herd and the team here at Jabulani.
We will not have a set a date for the introduction until we are much closer to the time, as each elephant’s development differs, however, it would most likely happen during next year, 2020.
During the coming months is it essential that we become pro-active in our preparation for further orphans that may be brought into our care. Unfortunately, the facilities at HESC are limited, with many different species brought into their rehabilitation programme on an ongoing basis.
Therefore we are currently looking at creating a self-contained facility within the reserve that can run independently as a sanctuary for young orphans that need 24/7 love and attention. It is a necessary step forward as the numbers of elephant poachings is sadly rising in South Africa.
We are looking for sponsorship for the funding for this new project; which comes at a substantial cost. Please contact email@example.com if would like to assist.
In the meantime, we look forward to sharing updates on Mopane and Raekie’s progress at HESC.