Baby Elephant Reunites with Herd After Unexpected Visit to South African Family’s Home

An unexpected guest appeared at a South African game reserve when a 10-day-old baby elephant separated from her herd and wandered into a family’s garden.

The young female, affectionately named Tom, traveled nearly 30 miles before arriving on Tuesday night at the Thula Thula Private Game Reserve in Zululand.

The game reserve’s owner, Francoise Maldy Anthony, and her staff were astonished when Tom entered their living room.

They provided the baby elephant with food and water while rangers searched for her mother. In a remarkable twist, it turned out that Tom’s mother was an elephant that Anthony’s late husband had rescued years earlier.

How did she get here? The female baby elephant, named Tom after the member of staff who found her in the garden, was estimated to be just over one week old when it got lost and walked into the living room. Source: Barcroft Media

Baby elephants rarely get separated from their herds, so Tom’s journey to the game reserve was a rare and remarkable event. According to Anthony, who has owned the account for 15 years, she had never witnessed anything like it.

New pet: Francoise Malby Anthony, the owner of the ranch, plays with her surprise guest in the living room. Source: Barcroft Media

The staff at Thula Thula allowed Tom to roam freely while minimizing contact to avoid rejection by her mother.

Lost little one: Francoise Maldy Anthony has owned the Thula Thula Private Game Reserve ranch for 15 years but said she has. I have never experienced anything like it. Source: Barcroft Media

When the mother and baby were finally reunited, Tom appeared reluctant to leave, even trying to follow the van as it pulled away.

Tiny dancer: After wandering into the garden, the ten-day-old elephant makes its way into the Anthony family’s living room. Source: Barcroft Media
Tom nom: Game rangers Shereen Bond and David Bozas feed the distressed baby elephant in an attempt to calm it down while its mother is tracked down. Source: Barcroft Media

Overnight monitoring confirmed that Tom was successfully integrated back into her herd. Francoise Maldy Anthony, now living alone after losing her husband, conservationist and novelist Lawrence Anthony, recalled the extraordinary experience, which some belief was more than a coincidence.

Where’s mummy? The young elephant is thought to have traveled for several miles after getting separated from its mother and the rest of the herd before ending up in Francoise Malby Anthony’s living room. Source: Barcroft Media
Tom, meet Tom: Tom the baby elephant with chef Tom Diamini, who originally found her in the garden in Zululand, South Africa. Source: Barcroft Media
Time for cuddles: David Bozas and Shereen Bond spend some time with the young elephant who temporarily took over the living room in the main house on the game reserve. Source: Barcroft Media
Making friends: Tom, the baby elephant, and Tom, the chef, get acquainted in the lounge. Source: Barcroft Media
One more for dinner, then? Staff from the Thula Thula game reserve feed Tom, the baby elephant, in the ranch’s kitchen. Source: Barcroft Media
Hard out here: Tom rests her trunk on the sofa after exploring the living room and getting fed. Source: Barcroft Media
Trunk in love: Francoise and her staff were careful not to have too much contact with Tom, but the charming elephant baby appeared to have been hard to resist. Source: Barcroft Media
Tom was only inside the house for a few hours while her herd was located, but Francoise and her staff described the experience as magical. Source: Barcroft Media
Trunk in the trunk: Game ranger Shereen Bond and other members of staff attempt to return Tom to her mother after tracking down the herd. Source: Barcroft Media

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