Monday morning January 6th 2020, a baby albino elephant calf was found, trapped in a man-made snare.
The team of Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary took care of her nasty wounds and contacted Adine Roode from the elephant orphanage HERD, the organisation we support. She arranged the necessary permits and transferred the calf to the orphanage. Luckily the baby ele was strong enough to do this. The little one seemed in good spirits and fighting strong!
This little girl is so unbelievably brave. The odds of her survival have been stacked against her from birth; she was born as an albino, she then endured excruciating pain trapped in the jaws of a manmade snare, and left to fight for her fragile life for an unknown amount of days. We can only try to comprehend the amount of pain she felt, how scared she felt, was her herd with her when it happened, was she alone? And how hot and thirsty she must have been. How could she possibly survive?
It is clear to us now; it is her spirit; she is a fighter. Her spirit is strong. Adine decided to name her Sunshine after seeing her unique beauty in the light of this morning’s sunrise.
Until now, Sunshine shows good signs of progression. The orphanage team from HERD is experienced and will do everything needed to help little Sunshine in her fight to get through this.
However, every day is crucial, baby elephants are one of the most challenging animal species to hand-rear, and their condition can change within hours.
She is very eager to investigate in the morning, and she wonders straight over the dividing fence to meet her future family. We will never know the depth of their communication, but they communicated. Tokwe, the matriarch, and the Herd are exceptionally calm and peaceful.
The orphanage is located alongside the stables of the Jabulani herd. They are separated to be able to monitor the health and wellbeing of each baby elephant’s physical health, stress levels and emotional wellbeing until they feel the time is right to continue with the integration process to their new family.
During the day she is exploring the orphanage, under the protection of sun umbrella, held by her carers. Albinoism, much like that in humans, means her eyes are super sensitive to sunlight as is her skin.
Lammie, the sheep, kept close by to her new friend. Their bond will take some time, and Lammie knows it. She is so incredibly patient.
Though Sunshine was drinking well, they must ensure she gets the correct amount of fluids each day and monitor that her milk formula is working well for her. This is always the most significant challenge.
Her wounds are cleaned few times a day, focusing a lot on each hole on the side of each month, where the maggots had eaten a significant amount of her flesh. Her wounds are understandably very itchy, and she often tries to scratch at them from various angles.
So sad this has happened to her but so happy she is in good hands now, surrounded with the love and care from the experienced team at HERD.
You can follow updates on the progress of Sunshine on our facebook or instagram page.