H.E.R.D – Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation & Development, Kapama Private Game Reserve

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.

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South Africa’s First Dedicated Elephant Orphanage

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.

South Africa’s Need For An Elephant Orphanage

HESC (the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre), has through the years provided a safe and loving home for elephant orphans as well as other animal species that have needed rehabilitation or veterinary attention. Their team of animal curators worked closely with our experienced elephant carers to hand-rear and nursed the baby elephants until such time they were ready to be introduced to the Jabulani Herd.

The decision was made to relocate the orphans to a new custom-built orphanage located next to the stables of the Jabulani herd, as HESC is situated an hour’s drive away. The Orphanage will be a well-controlled environment with the sole purpose of caring for elephant orphans and maintaining minimal foot traffic, which is equally important to an elephant calf’s delicate nature. The positioning of the Orphanage to the Jabulani herd will offer the baby elephants access to the adult elephants, and our highly experienced team will be able to oversee the process of the integration into the herd.

We are confident that the costs involved in creating this Orphanage at Jabulani will be justified over the coming years, as we have seen an increased number of elephant calves brought into our care. We have successfully introduced slightly older orphans immediately after being rescued to the Jabulani elephant herd, but younger orphans must be weaned first, as the Jabulani herd females are not lactating and therefore not able to provide very young elephants with essential milk that they need for their survival. That is where our hands-on care is vital at the elephant orphanage.

The Orphanage consists of three elephant bedrooms, with five communal areas that adjoin them; a kitchenette, a storeroom, a bathroom as well as indoor and outdoor playgrounds for the baby elephants.

The Jabulani elephant management plan has been adjusted considerably to accommodate the new Orphanage, and it will run hand-in-hand with the Department o f Environmental Affairs (DEAT)’s Norms and Standards of elephant management.


H.E.R.D. do not take volunteers or day visitors however please do reach out if you wish to support!

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