Every elephant needs a herd
A Message From Adine Roode
Rhinos are another great love of mine and their fight requires just as much dedication. With the elephants, I have been fortunate to become a part of their herd in many ways, just as the carers who spend night and day 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.
Conservation and ethics are at the core of our approach, a combination of heart and soul and mind. I have learned so much from the past years of our work in elephant conservation, rehabilitating and re-wilding and am driven and excited to create this on an even bigger, definitely more dedicated, scale with the establishment of Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation and Development (HERD).
I am so grateful for each and every person that is walking this path with us and I invite you to be part of the journey with us and to follow our story as it unfolds. This is just the beginning. This is South Africa’s first dedicated elephant orphanage.”
HERD – An Introduction
The journey of the Jabulani herd has transformed organically and beautifully over the years, since the rehabilitation of young Jabulani and the greater herd of rescued elephants from Zimbabwe. It has evolved, through hard work, dedication and a cohesive vision, into one of South Africa’s greatest conservation success stories; a story that continues to evolve with the successful integration of orphaned elephants into this unique and accepting herd.
“Every elephant needs a herd…”– A phrase that defines what we do and why we have consistently worked, together with HESC, to care for and unite elephants in need.
It is also a genuine truth of elephant life, part of what makes elephants such a unique and profound species. The strength of their family bonds and social dynamics are vital to their well being and survival as individuals and as a species.
It is our mission through the creation of HERD (Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation & Development), to care for and rehabilitate orphaned elephants, to give them a new family, and a second chance of life with another herd.
South Africa’s first dedicated elephant orphanage, is located on the Jabulani grounds, built purposely near to the close-knit Jabulani herd, for us to easily assess and integrate each baby elephant according to their individual emotional needs.
In these documents, you will find outlined the purpose of HERD, why we need it, what our objectives and principles are, as well as a description of what it takes to care for orphaned elephants, by HERD founder and Jabulani Managing Director, Adine Roode.
JOIN OUR JOURNEY, BE A PART OF OUR HERD.
Adine’s role in the HERD
Adine Roode is a driving force behind HERD, together with a highly skilled and experienced team we will introduce further on.
Wildlife conservation has been an integral part of Adine’s life while growing up in Hoedspruit. Her passion and dedication to the cause have grown with her, as she worked closely with her mother, Lente Roode at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC).
Adine is recognised in the conservation industry for her work in rhino conservation at HESC; however, her most significant work has been in elephant conservation, which began in 1997, when HESC successfully hand-reared their first orphaned elephant.
It has been a two-decade journey walking with elephants, following Lente Roode’s rescue of what has now become known as the Jabulani herd, from Zimbabwe in 2002.
Adine has been instrumental in the care and well being of the rescued herd through the years, and in that time, has seen the unique acceptance of the herd to wild orphaned elephants.
With the growing numbers of orphans and displaced elephant calves in recent years, Adine has taken the next step, to build a dedicated elephant orphanage that can provide a unique adoptive family structure for baby elephants, which is crucial for their well being and survival.
A bold and essential step forward that the herd has paved for her to follow.
What it takes to Care for Elephants
The HERD: Who Are We?
Meet our Elephant Care Team
Eight experienced Elephant Carers from the Jabulani Herd work under the supervision of Jaco Maritz, our HERD manager and Tigere Matipedza, our JABULANI HERD Manager. They work in shifts to care for the orphaned elephants as well as to oversee and train our three elephant carer trainees.
Our three elephant carer trainees that were hand selected from our local communities.
Reply, Lissing and Khensani have constant supervision from their trainers as they continue to learn on a daily basis about the fragile care of baby elephants.
Meet Our Orphanage Operations Team
The management of the orphanage environment and surroundings is part of the task of caring for the elephant calves. The HERD operations team has been involved in the planning and construction of the orphanage and will continue to oversee the maintenance of the buildings and general operations, to ensure that they are of the highest standards.
Meet Our Trusted Elephant Conservation Advisors
The Conservation Value of Elephants at Jabulani
The Jabulani HERD
The Jabulani story started in 1997, several years before the lodge was built, at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC), established by Jabulani founder, Lente Roode (mother of Adine Roode) as a cheetah breeding project. Over time, the Centre evolved into a wildlife conservation centre as species other than cheetahs arrived for rehabilitation.
Jabulani, an elephant calf of just four months, was brought into Lente’s care, after he had been found injured, abandoned and stuck in the mud of a silt dam. At HESC, he was successfully rehabilitated and once weaned, introduced to the wild elephants of the reserve. However, they were not interested in him and he kept returning to the comfort and familiarity of HESC, which he clearly preferred.
In 2002, Lente was contacted to urgently step in and rescue a herd of elephants from an elephant-back safari operation in Zimbabwe. The elephants were to be culled during the country’s land reformation process. Lente and her team managed to successfully move the herd of elephants and their dedicated carers to the reserve.
The idea was to introduce Jabulani to the herd as every elephant needs a family. Fortunately, Tokwe, the matriarch of the herd, accepted Jabulani lovingly and gracefully. Jabulani had finally found a family and the Jabulani herd had been created.
This was a significant moment in both our history and our future, as the original herd are all believed to have been orphans too. Their unique family structure would create a favourable environment for orphaned elephants in need of a herd. They have since warmly welcomed other orphaned elephants that we have introduced to them.
With the huge financial burden of having to care for the elephants and provide housing and income for their carers, it was decided to build a luxury lodge to help sustain the herd. Established in 2005, Jabulani has evolved into a soulful safari experience.
As the Jabulani Herd is not a wild herd, they needed a bit more protection. We therefore built them special and spacious stables providing indoor and outdoor shelter. It is into this loving and welcoming family and home that we hope to introduce the HERD orphans once they are older, stronger and ready.
Reintegration & Rehabilitation
Our main objective at HERD is to ensure that each orphaned elephant brought into our care gets to experience a second chance at life with a herd that will accept them without prejudice.
The unusual family structure of the Jabulani Herd that are majority orphans themselves presents a unique solution for orphaned baby elephants in Southern Africa, that vitally need to find a second herd to ensure their emotional well being and survival.
Together with our highly experienced elephant carers, we can provide a safe and regulated reintegration process for the baby elephants and monitor their growth and development within their newly found herd, while documenting and recording invaluable data for research for the species.
In time, with the anticipated increase in the Jabulani herd’s numbers, we suspect they may naturally split into two separate herds, as wild elephants do.
Once that happens, given the right conditions and environment that will enhance their current well being, the next step would be to integrate them onto a separate and secure wildlife reserve.
Elephants are a highly intelligent and emotional species, and the impact of forcing a division of their newfound herd would have a severe effect on their emotional well being. Our approved management plan allows us to adjust and improve under the guidance of our respected elephant advisors, as unknowns become clear.
Our Purpose & Future
As South Africa’s first dedicated elephant orphanage, our purpose is to ensure that we have the optimal environment to care for the growing numbers of orphaned or displaced elephants that are a result of increasing numbers of poaching of elephant mothers as well as man vs. elephant land conflict.
Our primary goal is for every orphaned elephant that is brought into our care at HERD, to be rehabilitated and integrated into a stable and nurturing elephant herd that will provide them with the love and emotional security they need to survive.
We are grateful to be situated in the Greater Kapama Area and to be guarded by a dedicated anti-poaching unit, helping to ensure the safety of the elephants of Jabulani and the HERD.
HESC established its own Anti-Poaching Unit (APU), one that is now renowned in the greater Kruger area, and that works with the police as well as the CIS in the Kruger National Park, and several other anti-poaching units.
The Kapama APU patrols in the high-risk areas of the reserve and conducts daily foot patrols on the reserve looking for traps and poachers. It also conducts occupational safety inspections on a regular basis.
In an effort to combat poaching, the Kapama APU has been using tracking dogs as part of its anti-poaching initiative. The canine unit is comprised of both Bloodhounds and Belgian Malinois dog breeds, who have been trained to track potential poachers.
The Wildlife Conservation Trust
The Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT) is a registered PBO (Public Benefit Organisation) that supports projects and organisations that dedicated their work to the conservation of endangered or vulnerable wildlife species through protection, rehabilitation and research, as well as facilitating projects with goals to educate communities about the importance of the environment and the conservation of it.
The WCT provided funding for the orphaned elephants while at Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC), and together with the team at HESC and Jabulani, identified the need to build this facility for the sole purpose of caring for orphaned and displaced elephants in Southern Africa. This decision follows an increase of elephant poaching in Southern Africa, and the equal rise of baby elephants that have needed a secure place of safety, rehabilitation as well as a feasible solution towards reintegration with another elephant herd, which is crucial to their survival.
All funding for the elephant orphanage is channeled through the WCT.
Wildlife Conservation Trust
Tel: +27 12 460 5605
Lodge: +27 (0)15 793 1265
Reservations: +27 (0)12 460 7348