Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Themba, the six-month-old elephant was orphaned after his mother died when she fell down a cliff.
Vets at South Africa's Sanbona Wildlife Reserve monitored the young elephant for a week, hoping he would be adopted and suckled by another elephant cow. But that did not happen and staff from an animal hospital were forced to take him in so he did not starve to death.
Themba the elephant and Albert the sheep, first met at a water hole. Themba made a dash for the sheep and chased him around his watering hole. Albert dashed into the safety of a shelter at the far end of the enclosure and stayed there for 12 hours.
Curiousity got the better of the gentle Themba, and he started embracing Albert with his trunk.
The pair now spend every hour together at their home in the Shamwari Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.
Albert copies everything Themba does. In fact, they have almost the exact same diet. Albert is the first sheep ever to be seen eaingt a thorny acacia bush.
One day though, Themba and Albert‘s bond will have to be broken as the team‘s main objective is to get the elephant back into the wild when he is weaned off baby milk at about two years old.