Swazi elephants doing well

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A close-up of mother Nolwazi enjoying some browse.

Our experts have been busy round-the-clock caring for the five elephants we rescued from drought-ravaged Swaziland. We’re happy to report that the new arrivals are doing well!

They’re loving their much better diet. With food and hay affected by the drought, they arrived underweight. But in the past three weeks, all have gained weight, with several putting on more than 100 pounds.

And they’re already bonding with our keepers. Because we use only protected contact and free choice – we don’t force the animals to do anything they don’t want to do – these relationships are very important. Names are critical; elephants definitely respond when they hear them. The keepers chose names that honor the elephants’ African heritage.

So please let us introduce:

  • Mlilo (“fire”): She’s a spirited one! Estimated at 10-15 years old, her name is pronounced “ma-LEE-lo.”
  • Zola (“quiet/tranquil”): About the same age as Mlilo, she’s a mellow girl.
  • Amahle (“beautiful one”): Aged 6-10, she’s the smallest – but she’s growing fast, having put on more than 110 pounds so far! It’s pronounced “a-MAH-lee.”
  • Nolwazi (“knowledgable”): The oldest at 20-25 years and Amahle’s mother. Pronounced “nole-WAH-zee.”
  • Tendaji (“make it happen”): The only bull, he’s also gained more than 100 pounds. Pronounced “ten-DAHJ-ee.”

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    Male Tendaji dozes off on a sand mound.

The group remains together under a USDA quarantine, which we expect to be lifted shortly. But don’t count on seeing them all in the Giants of the Savanna soon; we’ll move slowly to give them time to adjust to the new habitats and be introduced to our four “Golden Girls.”

This remarkable rescue was a long, complex process, made even more difficult by the spreading of misinformation. But because of your continued support, these five remarkable creatures are alive and thriving, and we’re proud of that. Thank you!

Categories: Africa, Conservation, Elephant | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Swazi elephants doing well

  1. Jennifer

    Oh i can’t wait to see them! Im sure the golden girls will love their new friends. What is the ETA on being able to see them? I understand though it is a long process. I wholeheartly believe these elephants are in the best place. You can tell in the picture Tendaji has not a care in the world!

  2. Karen

    I am so very glad that these elephants got the gift of life, free of starvation, drought and poachers!

  3. Amber

    We are so excited to see the new additions! These elephants are in a great new home and I know they will thrive here with the love and care they recieve.

  4. Joy

    Thanks for the update. Look forward to hearing more good news and eventually meeting them!!

  5. KAREN

    these elephants are some of the lucky ones. given the situation in their homeland, even with human protection, their lives would have been greatly shortened because humans cannot find food where there is none, water when there is no rain and life where there is nothing to sustain it. while the elephants are lucky, we are the lucky ones; we have them to create wonder and enjoyment in our adult lives and in the lives of the many children who will see them and, hopefully, want to “help”. WELCOME WONDERFUL FIVE!!

  6. D&D Kelly

    We are so excited to see our new friends! Thank you for rescuing these elephants from their dying environment in Swaziland ~ otherwise they could be dead by now!

  7. Billy

    Iam glad that you are still keeping the four golden girls.I was so upset when San Diego zoo transfered chico,peaches,wamkie and takima instead of leaving them be at the wild animal park.It haddire consequences for the three females that went to Lincoln park zoo.two died there shorty and the third died being transfered to hogle zoo.Thumbs up to you!!!I despise San Diego big time for not integrating those four elderly elephants with their Swaziland elephant arrivals.another reason I despise them along with many others is that they mix asain and African elephants in their original zoo.thumbs up to you!!!also for using protected contact and free choice A big thumbs up!!!!

  8. Rhonda

    So glad to hear that these rescued elephants have arrived and are doing well..We’re anxious to meet them & thankful you were able to rescue them.

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