Elephant Whispers’ remarkably intelligent African Elephant
who loves showing off new skills he has mastered!
Medwa, whose name means ‘thorn’ in Shona, is a 15 year old male elephant who weighs approximately 2.6 tons. He is an exceedingly intelligent elephant; one week after being rescued from a culling operation, he had already learnt five verbal instructions. From the start, he has always been comfortable interacting with humans, often seeking out human company. He responds positively to challenges, he enjoys learning new commands and can become quite a show off when he has mastered a new skill!
His constant happy, calm demeanour can be thrown by Lindiwe; his jealous streak comes out when he sees Lindiwe getting attention, or treats. This was easily solved by separating them at the interaction site and in the stables, and of course by giving Medwa the never-ending attention he so enjoys.
The wise saying that elephant never forgets is proven by Medwa’s demonstration of his impressive long term memory. Medwa recognized a guest he had been introduced to by name, eighteen months later, when she again visited. We asked Medwa to take a basket to her, she was standing with a group of guests, and without any hesitation he singled her out and gave her the basket. He knows all the Elephant Whispers staff members by name and by listening to us calling our pet dogs, even knows their names, and happily shares his elephant cubes with them.
In March 2008, we were all most anxious when a lump in Medwa’s mouth had to be removed in a fairly lengthy procedure. Following this, Medwa’s mouth was a little painful and the stitches uncomfortable when eating, the softer food and tasty treats he was given during his recovery, helped sustain him. The Elephant Whispers team was most relieved when the test results on the lump were benign and delighted when Medwa quickly recovered from his ordeal; once again demanding attention and trying to steal the limelight from Lindiwe.
Having guests all around him while he is lying down, touching him and showering him with attention is Medwa’s favourite time. His emotional gland often runs showing his contentment and enjoyment. His temporal gland is located between the eye and the ear on the side of his head, it is also known as the emotional gland or the Musth gland. Fluid is secreted from this hole, showing emotions like happiness, fear and excitement. When elephant are in a good mood a thin liquid is released which is 80% water and 20% pheromones and has an earthy odour.
AT A GLANCE
Age: 15 Years
Shoulder Height: 2.6m
Weight: 2.6 tons
FROM OUR GUEST BOOK
“Tonic for the soul – as always an amazing experience!!! Love them all”
TAMARA SOMERS-COX – KWAZULU-NATAL
“This has been the most wonderful experience for me in Africa. Thank You”