An elephant calf that has been in the care of the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC) in South Africa for the past 16 months, has been successfully introduced to the resident Jabulani herd. The introduction took place in early April 2018, and the great news is that the calf will remain with the herd going forward!
In November 2016, the little elephant calf – named Shawu – was found wandering along the R40 between Klaserie and Hoedspruit, in Limpopo.
He was taken to HESC, which has the facilities and expertise to care for and accommodate orphaned and injured elephants.
“Shawu arrived at HESC extremely distressed, hungry and thirsty, without anyone’s knowledge of the amount of time he had survived on his own,” said HESC today.
“Our dedicated HESC team of curators and experienced elephant carers worked around the clock to ensure his survival. This entailed being bottle fed every two hours and 24 hour care… and his state of healthy improved rapidly.
“Although human intervention by qualified individuals is essential to his survival, our aim was always to reintroduce him to a herd of his own, once again.
“Since elephants have a very strong sense of family and elephant calves are cared for by the entire herd, and not just the biological mother, the decision was made to introduce Shawu to the Jabulani herd.
The Jabulani herd consists of a very special herd of orphaned elephants that were rescued from Zimbabwe. According to Jabulani Camp, they have matured over time to become a close-knit family group.
“Careful planning, consultations and scientific research were carried out extensively before we made that final decision,” said HESC.
The introduction date was set for 7 April 2018, and it was decided that the least stressful way of getting Shawu to the herd, would be by foot, so that the young elephant would not
experience unnecessary emotional stress from transportation.
Preparation was made for the 18 km walk, including increasing Shawu’s daily walking distance every day to get him physically ready.
“On the day, we took numerous pit stops to drink, rest, and enjoy a mud bath en-route too,” said HESC.
And to their delight, the much anticipated introduction between the little calf and the Jabulani herd took a different direction to what the humans had planned.
Shawu ran away from the herd and the ‘formal’ meet and greet towards the Jabulani stables.
“Tokwe placed her trunk protectively around the little elephant, in a hugging-like manner, as if to reassure him that everything would be okay”
“The herd followed his trail eagerly, excited to protect and welcome this young elephant to the family. Tokwe (the matriarch) was the first elephant to approach Shawu directly, and placed her trunk protectively around the little elephant, in a hugging-like manner, as if to reassure him that everything would be okay.
“Shawu has adapted extremely well to his new surroundings with his new herd. He is eating, drinking and sleeping normally, and looking very confident in his new environment. We will continue to monitor him closely with the assistance of the Camp Jabulani team,” said HESC.
#ThankYouHESC #ThankYouJabulani #Jabulani #Rejoice #WishiingShawuAHappyHappyLife