The internet is brought to tears as 6-month-old elephant orphan, Phabeni, is taken under the protective wing of Lundi – finding not only a mother, but a herd.
Phabeni’s story begins on November 14, 2023, on Shawu’s Hills Wildlife Estate, bordering the southern section of the renowned Kruger National Park. One morning, the Shawu team discovered an elephant calf on the property, sadly without any sign of its mother or herd. Rather than allowing the young calf to roam alone, the proactive Shawu Hills team promptly reached out to the Mpumalanga Parks Board. Collaboratively, they sought assistance in providing a new home for the elephant alongside HERD.
Guided by officials from Nature Conservation at the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency, including the dedicated veterinarian who played a key role in rescuing Khanyisa – a rare albino elephant calf who was found trapped in a snare with severe injuries in January 2020 – Phabeni was transported to Kruger National Park’s Phabeni gate.
Here, the HERD team eagerly awaited his arrival. In a touching gesture, the calf was named Phabeni, translating to “shelter” in Sotho.
After months of trying to accustom Lundi to Phabeni, she has finally accepted him as her own, warming the hearts, not only of the HERD team, but the nation. An inspiring video shared depicts the HERD team expressing joy at Phabeni’s seamless integration into the group of elephants, marking a beautiful chapter in the ongoing story of wildlife conservation.