Khanyisa the albino elephant's story is one of sadness and hope - and an example of the African spirit's resilience.
At four months old, Khanyisa was found in January trapped in a snare, cutting her ears, cheeks and mouth as she struggled for days to get herself free, the wire digging deeper into her.
The cuts were so deep, maggots had started eating the open flesh.
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More than a month and 31kg later, the blue-eyed darling has been thriving at the Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation and Development (HERD) centre in Kapama Private Game Reserve, Mpumalanga. She was initially named Sunshine, but HERD decided she needed a more African name to goes with her fighting spirit.
"This little girl is so unbelievably brave," HERD wrote on their Facebook page.
"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 man-made 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 [have survived]?"
Since then, with many stitches later, she has become a beacon of hope at the reserve, slowly recovering physically and mentally alongside HERD's resident comfort sheep Lammie.
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Once she's strong and old enough, she will join Kapama's herd of rescued elephants headed by Jabulani - the face of Amarula - who also visited the youngling earlier this month.
"Usually, an albino elephant calf would benefit from the shading of the older, taller elephants in the wild. Of course, we are optimistic that the Jabulani Herd will be able to provide her that natural comfort once she is successfully integrated with them. We will consider her integration process and steps once her injuries are fully healed."
What an amazing little elephant!
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