A 10-day-old runaway baby elephant found herself in the front room of a ranch in Zululand, South Africa.
“Tom”, named after the ranch chef who found the elephant, is thought to have traversed 30 miles of nature reserve before ending up at the Thula Thula Private Game Reserve last week.
Owner Francoise Malby Anthony and her colleagues gave the elephant food and water while rangers went out to find her mother, who coincidently had been rescued by Mrs Anthony’s husband Lawrence years before.
“I have owned this ranch for 15 years but I have never experienced anything like this,” said Mrs Anthony. “She must be like the littlest hobo as baby elephants never ever get lost from their herd.
“It’s also remarkable that she ended up at my home – we have 4,500 hectares of land and she was spotted a day before she arrived at my home with her herd at the other end of the reserve.
“She had walked miles to get here and was quite distressed when she arrived – she looked tired, thirsty and hungry.
“I gave her some milk but was careful to not have too much contact as I didn’t want her to be rejected by her herd when we finally got her back.
“Her mother – who we rescued from a neighbouring reserve which was going to allow a hunter in to shoot her – was delighted when Tom was finally reunited with her.”
Francoise’s husband Lawrence Anthony died two years ago. He was a famous conversationalist and novelist.
“Lawrence was famous for the work he did saving elephants and even saved Tom’s mother – people are saying the elephant needed saving and was drawn here,” said Mrs Anthony. “I don’t really know about that but I am sure that she couldn’t have spent much longer out there alone.
“She was very dehydrated and very stressed – she had been walking for an incredibly long time.
“The important thing is she is back with her mother and herd and can now continue with them – unless she decides to wander off again.”
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