was successfully added to your cart.

Basket

Our Staff

What it Takes to Be an Elephant Carer – The Carer Levels at Jabulani

By 9th Sep 2020 No Comments

Elephant Manager Tigere inspecting the underside of one of the females in the herd.

What does it take to be an elephant carer at Jabulani? Heart, body, mind, soul.

It takes empathy, hard work, kindness, patience, loyalty, dedication, selflessness, a willingness to learn, to get dirty, to wake up early and go to sleep late, perseverance, people skills, physical fitness, mental stability, humility, respect, knowledge and experience. And still more…

When we consider all of these requirements, some of which are learnt, some of which are a matter of a person’s nature, we realise just how special our trusted and valued elephant carers are.

Be sure to read about each carer on our website! Click here >

At Jabulani, the elephant carers are an integral part of providing a home for the rescued Jabulani herd of elephants and the orphan elephants that they have accepted and continue to integrate into their family. Most of the Jabulani carers arrived at Jabulani and in South Africa with the elephants in 2002, when the elephants were rescued from being culled in Zimbabwe.

The carers are all experienced and passionate about what they do and are all committed to the emotional and physical well-being of the elephants.

Blessmore & Jabulani.

Besides keeping a close eye on the physical condition of the herd, the elephant carers monitor what and how much the animals eat, maintain the stables and, believe it or not, talk to the elephants frequently too, to familiarise the herd with their voices. The carers also ensure that the safety rules regarding elephants are adhered to by staff and guests at all times. They accompany the elephants every day as they roam freely and forage in the wild on the reserve to ensure that no skirmishes arise between the Jabulani herd and the wild elephant herds.

Kevin & Khanyisa

The Jabulani elephant carers have different levels of responsibility, depending on their experience, knowledge and leadership. For starters, there is Elephant Manager, Tigere Matipedza, who has two assistant managers each month, on rotation. Tigere oversees and manages the four tiers of Elephant Carers.

Below we share more about the role of each level with the elephants!

Elephant Manager, Tigere at the dam with the herd.

ELEPHANT CARER LEVEL FOUR:

RESPONSIBILITIES – This level is achieved with a combination of being in long service to the Jabulani herd as well as being adept at all the requirements and responsibilities of Level one through to three. In addition to this, these carers are responsible for the training of the three lower levels.

Watch Level Four Carer, Stavros in our Delicious Journeys film with Relais & Châteaux!

The Level Four Carers include:

Israel Shambira Elephant Carer – Level 4 – Team Supervisor, as well as Owen Dube, Joshua Dube, Kenneth Shambira, Liverson Sande, Stavros Chakoma, Simbarashe Urure, Tichnoana Dube.

ELEPHANT CARER LEVEL THREE:

RESPONSIBILITIES –

  • Observe elephants’ physical conditions to detect illness or unhealthy conditions requiring medical care.
  • Administer medications to elephants.
  • Evaluate elephants to determine their temperaments, abilities, and aptitude.
  • Feed and exercise elephants and provide other general care needed in all areas.
  • Talk to and interact with elephants to familiarise them to human voices and contact.
  • Keep records documenting animal health, diet, and behaviour.
  • Ensuring that level 1 and level 2 carers maintain their standards of elephant care.
  • Ensuring that all the elephant areas and equipment are cleaned daily and maintained.

The Level Three Carers:

Colben Mogakane, Emmanuel Dube, Last Scholar

Meet Last & Tigere here as they discuss mischievous Mambo!

ELEPHANT CARER LEVEL TWO:

RESPONSIBILITIES –

  • Observe the elephants’ physical conditions to detect illness or unhealthy conditions requiring medical care.
  • Assist in the administration of medications to the elephants as well as assisting management in such situations
  • Assist in the evaluation of elephants to determine their temperaments, abilities, and aptitude.
  • Feed and exercise elephants and provide other general care such as cleaning and maintaining the areas that we use for check-ups.
  • Talk to and interact with elephants to familiarise them to human voices and contact.

Shepherd & Jabulani

  • Keep records documenting animal health, diet, and general behaviour.
  • Ensure that all the elephant areas and equipment are cleaned daily and maintained.
  • Ensuring that all safety rules are adhered to by all staff and guests.
  • Notifying management of any behavioural concerns with any elephant.
  • A level two Elephant Carer needs to have acquired a comprehensive knowledge of both elephant behavior and husbandry, to advance to a level three carer.

The Level Two Carers:

Blessmore Gwerere, Foster Timba, Godknows Chivero, Josiya Hando, Kevin Mwanje, Samson Hwato, Shepherd Nkomazana

Shepherd & Jabulani

ELEPHANT CARER LEVEL ONE:

RESPONSIBILITIES –

  • Assist in observation of elephant’s physical conditions
  • Detect illness or unhealthy conditions that may require medical care, as well as keeping records of elephant’s medical history and updating current conditions where necessary.
  • Assist with supplying food for the elephants, as well the general maintenance of the elephant stables.
  • They will continually talk or speak to the elephants to familiarise the elephants to their voice.
  • Familiarise themselves with all the safety rules. Notifying management immediately of any occurrence or incident that may lead may present dangerous situations.
  • A level one Elephant carer will have to have a good general knowledge of elephant behavior and elephant husbandry to advance to a level two carer.

The Level One Carers:

George Zulu, Cedric Mabota, Clever Magiriva, Godfrey Leshabane

Herman Khoza – HERD Orphanage Carer

Herman with his friend, Khanyisa at HERD.

We are so grateful for these exemplary humans in our team who work tirelessly day after day to care for and protect this very special herd of rescued elephants, while out in the bush foraging for most of the day, or in and around the stables. Our carers, with their compassion and experience are essential in the well-being of the herd. It is a job many dream of but it is also one that is demanding and taxing, holistically. But our team have only grown deeper and deeper in their connections with the elephants, their knowledge about these important animals and their passion for their role in elephant conservation.

Thank you, TEAM!

Leave a Reply

seventeen − 1 =