A baby Aʟʙɪɴᴏ elephant was found alone in the wild, trapped in a snare in January 2020 in South Africa. The infant was severely ɪɴᴊᴜʀᴇᴅ due to the restraint, and it was thought she might not ʟɪᴠᴇ.
Rescuers took in the dehydrated, starving calf, and took her into the care of the team at Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation and Development (HERD), where she has since healed from her ᴛʀᴀᴜᴍᴀᴛɪᴄ experience.
The baby elephant, who the rescuers have named Khanyisa, is a very special one. She was unlike anything we had seen before, a tiny Aʟʙɪɴᴏ elephant with light blue eyes like the ocean and puffy pink cheeks. She stood not even at hip-height to them. She was so young, only four months old, and had already been through such a tremendous ᴛʀᴀɢᴇᴅʏ: she had ʟᴏsᴛ her mother, her herd, and almost ʜᴇʀ ʟɪꜰᴇ after being caught and trapped in a ᴘᴏᴀᴄʜᴇʀ’s snare.
Khanyisa was found with a snare wrapped around her neck, ears, and inside her mouth. The sharp wire had cut through her cheeks, leaving the infant with deep scarring. More seriously, those ᴡᴏᴜɴᴅs got ɪɴꜰᴇᴄᴛᴇᴅ as maggots had started eating the open flesh. The poor animal had to suffer a lot.
“She looked so innocent, fragile and pure, and yet so brave – a unique beauty who had been ᴡᴏᴜɴᴅᴇᴅ by the hands of man,” Sue Howells at the elephant orphanage told.
Thankfully, Khanyisa is in good condition now. The baby elephant is such a strong girl. She made an incredible recovery, staying healthy and happy now.
“Khanyisa had excellent weight gain in the first year,” HERD wrote. “She is on par for her estimated age of now 17 months at a healthy weight of 290KG, though the last month has slowed down and we are reassessing her nutritional intake.”
There have been concerns as to the challenges Khanyisa may face due to her ᴀʟʙɪɴɪsᴍ. So far, her severed ear is working as normal, but she will always continue to ʙᴀᴛᴛʟᴇ with bright sunshine due to her impaired eyesight.
In April of 2020, when her ᴡᴏᴜɴᴅs had completely healed, Adine Roode, founder of HERD, started the steady integration with the local “Jabulani Herd” of elephants, who accepted Khanyisa into their family.
Khanyisa now spends her days from sunrise to sunset in the wild with the herd and returns to the orphanage to stay in the care of her human family, who also provide essential milk formula, which she will be dependent on until she is approximately 4 years old.