Orphaned albino elephant recovers from poacher’s snare

HOEDSPRUIT, SOUTH AFRICA (AP) — Khanysia did not see the trap set by a poacher in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. She dove head first into the sharp wire snare, which cut her mouth, face and underneath her ear and chin.

It was days before the four-month-old albino elephant was found badly dehydrated but alive, and taken to the Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation and Development centre, three hours away.

One month later, Khanysia, named after the Tsonga word for light, weighs a healthy 150 kilogrammes, is adding 500 grammes every day and spends her time playing with caretakers.

“She is a little albino elephant, so it is a bit different than your normal elephant just in caring, especially when the sun is kind of severe,” said Adine Roode, founder of the centre, in the heart of Kapama game reserve. “Due to the animal-human conflict, we are sitting with orphans. Because of the decreasing land and habitat, we will see an increase, in the future, of elephant orphans.” It is not known how Khanysia was separated from her mother and herd, said Roode.

For the past 22 years, the centre has looked after orphaned elephants, and now has 17 pachyderms on site, she said. The young elephants are eventually released to the private game reserve, she said. Khanysia is separated from the rest of the herd for the time being.

Founder of the Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation and Development centre (HERD) Adine Roode plays with Khanysia, a five-month-old albino elephant in Hoedspruit, South Africa. PHOTO: AP