At the HERD elephant sanctuary in South Africa, a special bond has formed between the caregivers and an orphaned Albino baby elephant named Khanyisa.
This sanctuary provides a home for orphaned and displaced elephant calves, integrating them into the Jabulani herd under the care of Adine Roode.
Each morning, Khanyisa eagerly awaits her favorite treat: marula fruit, lovingly offered by Adine. The adorable baby elephant opens her mouth, ready to be fed by her beloved human.
But the real highlight of her morning is the arrival of Reply and Stavros, who bring her much-anticipated milk bottles.
When Khanyisa first arrived at the sanctuary, she weighed 124 kg but thrived with proper care and nutrition.
Regular weigh-ins ensure that Khanyisa is receiving the right amount of nourishment. It’s crucial to monitor her weight and adjust her diet accordingly. As the caregivers open the door to her room, Khanyisa’s excitement is palpable.
She knows it’s time for her milk bottles. Nandi, the faithful German Shepherd, always closely monitors the proceedings from outside the garden area.
While Khanyisa enjoys her milk, Stavros carefully weighs her. The little elephant has grown to an impressive 520 kg or 1,146 pounds.
Accurate weigh-ins can be challenging, as Khanyisa’s entire body, head, and trunk need to fit on the scale.
To ensure she maintains her appetite for milk, the caregivers are mindful not to let her fill up too much on fruits and vegetables, such as marulas and sweet potatoes.
As the hungry baby elephant finished her milk one day, she found an empty bottle and playfully toppled it over the enclosure’s edge. Limpopo, the elephant in the neighboring pen, lifted her trunk to greet Khanyisa and Adine.
Adine shares that the smallest elephant she has ever cared for weighed around 70 kg, while the average birth weight for elephants is approximately 90 kg (198 pounds).
Khanyisa has formed close friendships with two goats named Lammie and Nungu. Together, they enjoy a fresh mineral block that provides essential minerals to supplement their diets.
The baby elephant breaks off pieces from the block using her trunk and tusks. Although the caregivers usually incorporate these minerals into her milk, this additional source ensures Khanyisa grows stronger.
In the wild, elephants seek out specific mud or soil containing the necessary minerals. They may eat certain trees with termites or soil from mineral-rich hills.
The caregivers at HERD show great respect and appreciation for these magnificent creatures. Many caregivers come from Zimbabwe and share a special bond with the elephants, thanks to their invaluable knowledge of elephant care. The elephants adore caring individuals like Herman, Reply, Khensani, and Willington.
When she spots Reply, Khanyisa’s eyes light up, and she eagerly rushes to meet him. Afterward, Stavros meticulously checks the baby elephant’s feet, ensuring no stones or objects are stuck in her soles’ grooves.
These acts of care and attention reflect the deep dedication of the caregivers and Adine to the well-being of these wild animals.
Read more Elephant News.