A (huge) surprise visitor!

By Caroline Edmonds

Our sanctuary staff live at Tau camp, within Dinokeng Big 5 Game Reserve. There is certainly never a dull moment! This is what Foundation Director Caroline had to say about the latest occurrence – a surprise visitor!

Sometimes we forget we live on a Big 5 Game reserve, but the animals have a way of reminding us. We live in Tau camp and are surrounded by an electric fence and gate. Any of you that follow us regularly will know that the warthogs broke through the fence a few months ago. Since then, we have added strands of wire and managed to stop all break ins… until the other night.

Brenton, our new field guide, woke up at 2am and heard branches being snapped off and crunching leaves. He opened the door and was surprised to be confronted by a large elephant!

This elephant is known as Tiny Tim and often goes on walkabouts at the south of the game reserve.

Tim was very calm, happily wandering around the camp, picking nice fresh vegetation and leaves – much nicer than the routine fare he gets on the reserve. It is incredible how quiet elephants are, and they can be very delicate and careful. Brenton thought of coming out to tell me (I live across from him) but sense prevailed and he closed the door, leaving Tim to it. Guido (my German Pointer) and I heard nothing of the entire ordeal. So, when I came out at 6.30am to do the early morning orphaned cheetah cub feed, I was met with the image of branches and twigs scattered everywhere and the main electric gate off its hinges lying on the ground.
What a sight to wake up to! “Not warthogs!” I thought. I then saw the message from Brenton at 2am. It amazed me that Tim hadn’t done more damage. From the footprints and dung, we could see that he had been everywhere. He walked by our vehicles without doing any damage and even managed not to tread on any flower beds! I immediately drove over to the cubs’ enclosure to check the fences, and all were intact. So, all in all, a relatively well-behaved elephant. Even so – we don’t want him back in the camp soon, especially if he decides to invite friends and family!