Life proves to be very difficult for albino elephants, who are extremely rare and known to suffer many complications due to their lack of pigments. They are easily spotted and therefore more susceptible to attacks by predators. Their health is at a greater risk by being sensitive to light, and they even risk being rejected by their own species.
But Khanyisa, who is described as a “ray of light” is thriving in the Jabulani herd at the Kapama Private Game Reserve despite her rough start to life. At four months old, she was found trapped in a snare, suffering severe injuries as a result.
“She had severe lacerations around the back of her ears and neck that stretched around her mouth and cheeks. There was no sign of her herd anywhere,” Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation and Development (HERD) explains.
This warrior was taken to a sanctuary in Mpumalanga where her wounds were attended to, and then made her journey to Limpopo in 2020 after founder of HERD, Adine Roode applied for the necessary permits to have her transferred.
For three months, the elephant care team under the guidance of trusted Wildlife veterinarian Dr. Peter Rogers dedicated their time towards her healing process, working tirelessly to treat her wounds.
Once her wounds healed, the gradual integration process with the herd began where she was first introduced to Jabulani, then Lundi, who became her adoptive mother. She was then strategically introduced to the entire herd based on the social dynamics of their family, HERD expresses.
“Khanyisa has gone from strength to strength, her wounds have healed beautifully, and her bonds with the herd have deepened naturally. She spends sunrise to sunset out in the wild of the reserve with the herd, and returns to the orphanage overnight, as she will remain dependant on milk formula from our carers until she is fully weaned at approximately four years old,” they add.
In the local Shona language, Khanyisa means “light” or “sunshine”, a fitting name considering her unique appearance.
May she continue to thrive with the emotional support of her Jabulani herd and under the care of the HERD team.
Picture: HERD Elephant Orphanage South Africa Screenshot from video / YouTube