Camp Jabulani is home to 15 elephants – 8 adults (including Jabulani and the rescued adults from Zimbabwe); 5 babies born over the years; and 2 young orphans (Timisa being the youngest and latest to join the family).
Theirs is an extraordinary story. Click here to read all about it.
The unique background of the rescued elephants in the Jabulani herd has resulted in the establishment of a positive atypical family structure. There are strong ties between both male and female animals, and clearly established matriarchs have assumed responsibility for all infants – their own, as well as the new orphans (a number of babies have arrived over the last five years, and they’ve been successfully introduced to the herd with minimal human intervention).
For those who have not had the opportunity to meet the herd personally, we thought we’d introduce them now as we prepare to start a new chapter in the lifetime journey we’ve committed to walk with them.
Our elephant family
Jabulani arrived at our sister property, Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC), as a tiny infant of just four months old in June 1997. He had been found stuck in the mud of a silt dam, injured and severely dehydrated after his herd had abandoned him. It took HESC a full year to nurse him back to health.
Numerous attempts to re-introduce Jabulani back to the wild were unsuccessful as he preferred his ‘human family’, and refused to part ways with them.
In March 2002, a herd of elephants was rescued from Zimbabwe and brought to South Africa, as their owner’s farm was in the process of being expropriated by war veterans.
Jabulani was soon introduced to the herd, and Tokwe (the matriarch) immediately adopted him.
Jabulani, who’s become known as the face of Camp Jabulani, is quite a playful elephant that loves people and adores the attention he gets.
Bubi tragically lost her mother to poachers, and as a result needed a lot of tender loving care before she could trust in man. She loves the girls, and has an affectionate relationship with all the female elephants in the herd.
Fishan was castrated at a young age in Zimbabwe due to a serious infection, and has never forgotten that experience. We’ve had to adopt a very sensitive approach with him, treating him with a lot of care and respect. He loves attention, especially if it comes with tasty treats.
Lundi is a staunch disciplinarian and is second in line to Tokwe in the hierarchical structure of the Camp Jabulani herd. She is highly intelligent, has a serious demeanor and is known as the “great aunt” of the herd.
Sebakwe is our celebrity, and is the face of Amarula (a world renowned South African cream liquer brand) – he occupies pride of place on the front of the Amarula bottle. Although he’s the dominant male in the herd, Sebakwe is known fondly among the elephant keepers as a very gentle elephant.
Setombe is a friendly elephant who loves to swim and wallow in the mud. She has a quiet and refined way about her, and while she gets on well with most of the females, she prefers the company of bulls.
Samopane has a very distinctive manner about him, and is highly intelligent with a “6th sense” that makes him an excellent tracker.
Tokwe is one of the matriarchs in the herd (and the mother figure who welcomed Jabulani). She is extremely intelligent.
Babies born at Camp Jabulani
Limpopo was the first baby to be born at Camp Jabulani on 19 August 2006. She was born to Tokwe and a wild bull on the reserve (after Tokwe had eloped for a night). She is gentle, proud and affectionate, and thrives on attention.
Klaserie was born to Setombe on 23 February 2007, and has always been very attached to her mother.
Zindoga was born to Bubi on 25 September 2007 and was the first male elephant to be born to the herd. He has a strong character, is very entertaining and loves to be the centre of attention.
Mambo was born to Lundi on 29 August 2009. What a character he is! He is a ball of energy, yet gentle and trusting. A real ‘mama’s boy’, he is never far from Lundi.
Pisa was born to Tokwe on Friday the 13th November 2009 on a hot summer’s day out in the bush. She walked all the way back to the stable! She doesn’t enjoy physical affection, but is more tolerant when there’s fruit or cubes on offer.
The orphan babies
Kumbura was a vulnerable and traumatised 18-month old orphan when she arrived at Camp Jabulani in August 2009. She had been discovered wandering alone through the bush in Botswana, and no one knows what happened to her mother or herd. She soon came to realise that she was in a safe place, and now simply thrives on attention.
Timisa arrived at Camp Jabulani on 19 November 2016 as a skinny 10-month old, with a strong will to survive. Just like her name, which means courageous, she is a plucky little elephant.
We believe that our success lies in our dedicated 20 year journey through which we’ve gained invaluable experience, enabling us to evolve and refine a successful model of rescued elephant care, with specific focus on infant rehabilitation.
We’ve come to realize that the rescued elephants themselves are the perfect solution, and have plans into the future to continue to help to rescue and rehabilitate elephants in need. For this is ultimately our purpose.