HERD: SA’s first elephant orphanage

Posted by Imogen Searra on 26 June 2020

The Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation and Development organisation is South Africa’s first elephant orphanage. Adine Roode founded this vital sanctuary as a response to poaching.

Her passion for this species is evident in her work, as Roode and her team work tirelessly to nurture, rehabilitate and reintegrate elephant orphans into a new herd.


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This is @adineroode one of our Matriarchs and the Founder of @herd_elephants – South Africa’s first elephant orphanage. Adine describes elephant conservation as her passion, purpose and the main driving force behind all she does. ⁣ ⁣ In response to the increase in poaching incidences, which have left a growing number of elephants displaced and orphaned, unable to survive in the wild – Adine established HERD, with the mission of caring for and rehabilitating these orphaned elephants, giving them a new family, and a second chance of life with another herd⁣. ⁣ Her dedication to these incredible species is remarkable. Adine’s genuine love of elephants along with her experience in rescuing, rehabilitating and rewinding elephants is a huge asset to HERD and the import work they are doing. ⁣ ⁣ We will be sharing more about Adine and the work @herd_elephants is doing in our next blog post, coming soon. Photo by @garyvanwykphotography #thematriarchs #sheleadsconservation #elephant #elephantconservation

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Did you know that @adineroode used to also be deeply involved with the successful rehabilitation of rescued rhinos that were survivors of poaching? She spent many years working alongside her mother at @hesc_endangeredspeciescentre, until such time she decided to focus 100% of her focus to elephant conservation when @herd_elephants opened last year. You can learn a bit about that history and more about all the work she now does with elephant conservation at @herd_elephants and @jabulanisafari on a LIVE CHAT with @jamessuter of @blackbeanproductions – going LIVE TODAY at 4PM CAT TODAY! We are looking forward to it! 🎥 @blackbeanproductions #inittogether #wildlifeconservation #elephantconservation #elephants #everysinglerhinocounts #everysingleelephantcounts

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HERD is based on the same property as the Jabulani Safari Lodge on Kapama Private Game Reserve. The founding elephant of this reserve, a bull, was suitably named Jabulani. The herd of elephants within the Kapama reserve have taken on orphaned elephant calves as their own.

The orphanage is situated next door to the Jabulani Herd stables. Elephant orphans are carefully introduced to the herd in order to build familiarity and to facilitate bonding. When the time is right, the elephant calf will be fully integrated into the herd.

Interestingly, most of the Jabulani Herd are orphans themselves. Exactly 5 elephant calves have been born to the Jabulani herd since 2006.

‘Five elephant calves have been born to the Jabulani herd since 2006, as well as an additional two orphans, have been introduced, so the intra-herd dynamics have changed significantly over the years,’ says the Jabulani website.


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A Jabulani Photographic Safari Series – with Marion Vollborn 📸: @marionvollborn Seeing the natural and animal world in our reserve at Jabulani through our guests’ photographs makes us swoon all over again at each bird in flight or perched up high, each lion pride stalking through the grass, and each elephant calf slipping under Mom’s tum. We have had some truly gifted photographers join us lately, with photographic workshop facilitator, Vollborn, all the way from Germany. Marion visited with a photographic group last year and returned again earlier this year. She inspires us (and our camera-loving rangers) with new enthusiasm for the craft of photography. We’ll be introducing you to some of the incredible talents in Marion’s groups, but we thought we’d start with the Teacher herself, with her own photographs taken at Jabulani on her first safari with us in 2019 and her words on leaving. . . “Already on the way from the airport to the camp my guests and I felt the special charm of this wonderful area. Our first highlight was the encounter with Jabulani and Sebakwe. Getting so close to these gentle giants made our hearts beat faster.The perfect conclusion was a beautiful sunset with buffalo and a sundowner at the waterhole. Our ranger @roos_wildlife always led us to the right place at the right time. Many highlights followed, like numerous giraffes, wild elephants, the bathing herd of elephants as well as 3 lion males at sunrise. The whole team of Jabulani made our stay perfect. Every wish was fulfilled and we enjoyed every minute. A big compliment to the chefs, these delicacies will remain in our memory for a long time.” 💛 See more in our blog! Link in our bio!

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In a statement on HERD’s website, Roode said: ‘In my time spent working with Jabulani and HESC, elephants and the conservation of their species has become my life, my passion, my purpose. With the elephants, I have been fortunate to become part of their herd in many ways, just as the carers who spend day and night with them are.

‘I have felt the sense of belonging with the embrace of their trunks, the vigour in the babies with each head-butt during feedings and the very real power of a fully-grown elephant while sharing the ground with them, almost cheek to cheek.

‘I have learnt so much from our years of working in elephant conservation, rehabilitating and re-wilding elephants, and am driven and excited to be creating this on an even bigger, more dedicated scale with the establishment of Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation and Development (HERD).’

The story of the Jabulani herd has truly been a unique one. Their work is revered throughout South Africa and to many parts of the world.


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Masks on😷✅! . With the arrival of a few “fresh” Jabulani and HERD carers to the lockdown team, giving some very well deserved leave to carers who have been working hard during the past few weeks, we had to introduce the use of facemasks. Fortunately, our friends at @investec delivered some masks for all of us to use, (Thank you!!) and it has taken some getting used to! So you may get used to a new sight of masks in some of our videos going forward x But the Khanyisa 🐘💜cuteness prevails!! . #southafricalockdown #facemask #herdsouthafrica #albinoelephant #pinkelephant #albinism #albino #stopsnaring #stoppoaching #everyelephantneedsaherd #hoedspruitelephants #elephantorphanage #southafrica #conservation #animallovers #elephantconservation #animalovers #elephantsofinstagram #elephants #elephant #babyelephant #elephantcalf #elephant🐘 #elephants #elephantlove #elephantlovers #everysingleelephantcounts

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The most recent addition to this incredible facility is Khanyisa, a female albino elephant calf. In January, she was found ensnared and severely injured. The team at HERD have worked day in and day out to get her to where she is today. This tot has grown from strength to strength and has captivated the team.

Her story had a heartbreaking start but her will to survive is inspirational. In March she was slowly introduced to members of the Jabulani herd and today she enjoys excursions with them, under supervision of course. One ellie in particular, a female elephant called Bubi, has taken Khanyisa under her wing.

Little Khanyisa’s story is a testament to the hard work, dedication and selflessness that is the HERD foundation. Adine Roode and her team have committed themselves to protecting this special species and their work is admirable.


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A morning of back to back magical Khanyisa moments💚! And Khensani, our young junior carer gave her first bottle in the wild to Khanyisa. . ⭐️FULL 25 Minute Video link in our PROFILE⭐️ . Little Miss Sunshine, Khanyisa, was full of beans and loved wading between the branches and bushes, reveling in the love that was there to meet her at every turn. Khanyisa spent a lot of time with Kumbura (well Kumbura hardly left her side!) and paid a few sweet visits to Adine during the morning too. Bubi kept close by her side too. In one clip, where she felt particularly playful and confident, she wandered off by herself, and without surprise, Lundi showed up from nowhere with Bubi to make sure she did not go too far. Khanyisa enjoyed an 8 am, and a 10 am bottle in the bush with the herd. Herman gave her first bottle, and Khensani proudly gave Khanyisa her second bottle. With every morning that passes, Khanyisa gains knowledge, confidence and most importantly, trust, from her new family, the Jabulani Herd. It is a privilege to be part of it. We hope you enjoy the lengthy video of many lovely Khanyisa-and-her-herd moments. If you would like to help towards our ongoing costs at HERD, you can donate or foster Khanyisa: www.herd.org.za/foster-an-elephant Or you can foster one of the Jabulani Herd to assist with their high costs of elephant care during COVID-19 travel restrictions: www.jabulanisafari.com/foster-an-elephant . ⬆️FULL video LINK in BIO⬆️ #herdsouthafrica #everyelephantneedsaherd #Khanyisasadventures #Khanyisabraveheart #babyelephant #elephantorphanage #albinoelephant #southafrica #Pinkelephant #elephants #elephant #elephantsofinstagram #bekindtoelephants #animallovers

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Image credit: HERD 

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