Elephant Whispers’ magnificent six ton gentle giant.
Elephant Whispers recently celebrated Tembo’s 29th birthday in true elephant fashion. Party goods included bags of oranges, paw-paws, apples and a large pile of freshly cut Bhana Grass to sustain his superb six ton physique!
When Tembo was two years old, he was orphaned when his herd was culled. Together with another orphaned elephant, Becky, he was raised by humans. Tembo’s home until he was approximately 18 years of age was in a reserve which bordered crop farms which Tembo regularly raided, causing thousands of rand’s damage. Authorities, faced with a deluge of complaints by local farmers, decided Tembo would have to be destroyed. Fortunately, Rory and Lindie Hensman rescued Tembo, taking him to EFAF, where Tembo enthusiastically embraced his new routines and also interacting with other tamed and trained elephant.
Trinity, who is a Senior Elephant Handler at Elephant Whispers, has developed a very close relationship with Tembo over the years. He says his most meaningful time with Tembo was when they were out walking one day; Trinity was behind Tembo when they suddenly came across some cattle. Tembo, not seeing the cattle until he was close by to them, took fright and quickly moved behind Trinity, wherever Trinity moved Tembo made sure to stand behind him, until the cattle had moved away. A six ton elephant standing behind an eighty kilogram human for protection shows the unique relationship that has developed between them; Tembo has faith in Trinity, seeing him as a matriarchal figure, providing protection, companionship and security.
The name Tembo means Elephant and as the largest elephant at Elephant Whispers, he measures 3.3m at shoulder height, he should still grow about another metre in height. Elephant eat 5% of their body weight each day, at 6 tons; Tembo eats approximately 300kg of food each day. His average overnight dung weighs in at an impressive 120kg.
In proportion to their body size, elephant have very little skin surface area to release heat. Their wrinkled skin aids the cooling process as it increases the surface area and also traps moisture in the deep folds which then cannot quickly evaporate. Their skin is porous and can absorb water, and because they don’t have sweat glands this helps to cool them down in the summer heat.
AT A GLANCE
Age: 29 Years
Shoulder Height: 3.3m
Weight: 6 tons
FROM OUR GUEST BOOK
“Loved it! I want to take Tembo home.“
“Bloody Brilliant!!. Tembo is a gentleman and a scholar. You have to ride for the high.”
SHAUN ASHFORD – AUSTRALIA