Meet our dedicated elephant carers at HESC, five very important people in our team.
Stavros, Israel, Joshua, Simba and Herman, are the five hardworking men that, together as a team, give 24-hour care, in shifts, to orphaned elephants in the care of HESC.
Most recent of which, is little Mopane, who arrived at HESC in December 2017, and is currently in our care.
Our carer’s have hands-on knowledge, and an abundance of experience with elephants, to ensure that they are nurtured and tended to, correctly.
For the majority, their proficiency comes from working for many years with the elephant herd at Camp Jabulani, which is located just less than an hour away from our centre, within the Kapama Reserve. They share their work duties between HESC and Camp Jabulani.
Stavros, Israel, Joshua and Simba, have been with us for many years, and are highly respected by all of the staff and elephants they have cared for. Herman has also been with our company for a long time, but only in recent years, started working with elephants, and he is a natural, especially with orphans.
Each of our carers have their own wonderful personalities, yet they all share a few common traits. They are all very kind, soft spoken and generous with their affection and time, yet disciplined and hardworking. Perfect characteristics for caring for orphaned elephants. In the following weeks, we will introduce you to each of them on an individual basis, so you can get to know a bit more about their stories and personalities.
They work 12 hours shifts starting from 6am or 6pm each day, (with breaks in-between) and during that time, will assist with ensuring that Mopane is in good health, his room is kept clean and fresh, that he eats well and on time, and mostly, that he gets good exercise as well as rest. Our HESC curators assist them with some of the day to day activities too.
The majority of Mopane’s day at the moment, is going for walks around our large centre perimeters (which is fenced from any dangerous wildlife). Sometimes these walks turn into little bouts of jogging, which don’t last long, but they are the cutest thing to see! Then there is always time for a snooze or two with his carer in the bush, until he wakes up with renewed energy, and ready to go again.
During this time out in the open, the carers will spend time teaching them certain things that he would be learning naturally from spending time with adult elephants, such as throwing sand on himself, which serves as a protection against the hot sun. It may seem easy, but it is hard work looking after a 150Kg elephant! And just like a little child, baby elephants can also get their moody days!
Evening shifts are of course a lot less busy, as the centre settles down, and most of the staff head home, except for the security. And here they will spend time laying and sleeping together, and giving a lot of special love and affection to the orphaned elephant, which is crucial for them. These are moments that we actually very rarely see, except for a few, which makes them even more special.
We are so grateful for their dedication and passion for elephants, and animals in general. The centre is very fortunate to have them on our team!