Lonely Planet Writer

Sheep adopts orphaned baby elephant in South Africa

An orphaned baby elephant that was found trapped in a dam has found a surrogate mother in a sheep at an endangered species centre in South Africa.

A rescued elephant befriends a goat at a South African animal rescue.
A rescued elephant befriends a sheep at a South African animal rescue. Image by Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre

The Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre posted a video of the pair on Facebook, showing elephant Amanzi and sheep Lammie getting along quite well.

On 16 February, the baby elephant became trapped in the holding dam of a copper mine, as it was believed he had been searching for water during the ongoing drought, reports News24. Rescuers tried unsuccessfully to introduce the baby back to an elephant herd before it was brought to the centre.

The Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre focuses on the conservation of rare, vulnerable or endangered animals, with a focus on cheetah conservation.

When Amanzi was brought to the centre, the calf was treated for injuries, dehydration and exhaustion. Unfortunately, Amanzi is not out of the woods – he is still losing fluids and won’t accept his bottle at times. But, the centre posted the special video saying the baby elephant now has a friend.

According to an update from Elephants Alive, a group that assisted in Amanzi’s rescue, he has a caregiver with him constantly and caregivers rotate shifts every 12 hours to he doesn’t get attached to one person, as “elephant calves are known to suffer from depression if any one person has to leave for an extended period of time”.

They also noted that Amanzi also has his new sheep friend for company.

Elephants Alive also says the copper mine has addressed the danger from the holding dam to prevent any future issues.

Watch the video here.