Friends by Dave Smith
We’re always open to trying new things here at Camp Jabulani, especially if it’s in the best interests of our ellies. A while ago Tokwe sustained an injury to her leg. A wound developed as a result, and we’ve been struggling to get it to heal ever since. Initially we treated it with a broad spectrum antibiotic, and thereafter with a specifically cultivated antibiotic. But unfortunately neither has worked.
Because of all the pain she has endured from the incident and subsequent treatments, Tokwe is not very trusting of humans and will no longer allow anyone to go near her sore leg. As a last resort we contacted Vicky Brooke, who told us about something called the Bemer Therapy System. It’s supposed to regulate the processes that make self-healing possible, assisting with acute and chronic conditions, and accelerating recovery from surgery, wounds, burns and skin conditions. It’s also purported to offer pain relief, which was a major selling point for us as poor Tokwe has been suffering for quite some time now.
We tracked down a lady in Hoedspruit who owns one of these machines, and hired it from her for a month. There are only two grooms whom Tokwe deems trustworthy enough to work with her, so they were tasked with administering the treatment every morning and evening. Fortunately there was no pain involved, although we did make sure to have a multitude of treats on hand to reward the old girl’s patience.
The first bit of pus came out of the wound a few days ago. This is a really positive sign as it means her body is trying to expel the toxins. People in the horse community swear by the Bemer Therapy System, so perhaps it will just take a bit longer with Tokwe as she’s so much bigger. In the meantime we’ll just have to hope and pray that this gentle matriarch takes a turn for the better, as she still has two small calves to raise.
Our herd sleeps indoors, but since Tokwe developed this ailment we made a temporary stable for her outside as the conditions are better suited to her healing process. Little Pisa still needs to be close to her mom, which means that she needed to camp outside as well. We can’t have the girls out there alone, so we had Somapani join them. This arrangement worked perfectly, as the big male provided both protection and companionship for Tokwe and Pisa.
Elephants are no different than us humans when it comes to getting on with one another however, and are just as picky about who their friends and roommates are. With the trio living outside, we then arranged the rest of the herd’s living arrangements according to who likes who. Of course we like indulging our gang, but the ramifications of pairing the wrong two is dire. I made this mistake once, and was woken by a huge ruckus at two in the morning. I’d inadvertently paired two bulls who weren’t on speaking terms, and they just about ripped their stalls down to get at one another.
Recently the outside stables required some attention, which meant having the trio come back inside for a couple of days. Much juggling later I eventually had everyone strategically placed, albeit with one small caveat. The stable I’d assigned to Tokwe and Pisa didn’t have sufficiently narrow bars. This meant that a certain toddler could easily go walkabout. Pisa isn’t one to sleep on command, preferring instead to first visit with her sister and various friends before calling it a night. This isn’t really a problem unless I’m in the middle of a stable tour, because suddenly being approached by a baby elephant doesn’t always go down that well. Fortunately the problem was only temporary, as their stable has since been mended.
Hopefully the first rains will arrive soon, so the warthogs have something to feed on besides elephant pellets. The poor animals are so skinny and hungry that they’ve even taken to intimidating the younger calves in an attempt to steal their treats.
Until next time,