PICS: The elephant in the room at Thula Thula...

2014-04-22 10:51
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Thula Thula's elephant in the room

Thula Thula Private Game Reserve director, Francoise Malby Anthony welcomed a surprise visitor into her house recently.

Thula Thula Private Game Reserve director, Francoise Malby Anthony welcomed a surprise visitor into her house recently.

A10-day-old elephant calf wandered into her living room. The female calf, which has been named "Tom," after the Safari Lodge's chef, who discovered the lost elephant, is thought to have walked at least 5km before ending up in Anthony’s living room.

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While rangers went out into the reserve to locate the infant's herd, Anthony and colleagues gave the distressed elephant food and water. "Why she was so far from the herd is a mystery," Anthony said.

Also check out: Thula Thula: Close encounters of the elephant kind
"We have a herd of 25 elephants, and we assume that she must have been distracted and accidentally separated from the herd. Given how strong the familial bond is among elephants, that is itself very unusual.”

"She was seen the night before, about 3 AM, around the tented camp, about 5 km from my house," Anthony explained. She doesn't think that the mother rejected the newborn infant, as the herd accepted her back without hesitation, after her wandering adventure.

While Anthony and the reserve's staff took care not to be in excessive contact with the elephant, some physical contact was necessary in order to care for her. They were concerned that the herd might reject her if she didn't smell right. Luckily their fears were unfounded and the infant was successfully reunited with her mother.

Tom's mother had originally been rescued from a neighboring reserve, by Anthony's late husband Lawrence, author of The Elephant Whisperer. The neighbor was going to allow a hunter to pay for the right to kill her and take a trophy.

"Lawrence had an amazing relationship with our herd of elephants that he saved from death 15 years ago," Anthony said. That relationship appears to still be quite strong.

Read more on:    kzn  |  bush  |  safari  |  travel and leisure  |  game reserves  |  wildlife

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