Khanyisa was found alone and tangled in a sɴᴀʀᴇ at a private reserve close to the border of Kruger National Park, South Africa.
It was days before the four-month-old ᴀʟʙɪɴᴏ elephant was found badly ᴅᴇʜʏᴅʀᴀᴛᴇᴅ but alive. She dove head first into the sʜᴀʀᴘ wire sɴᴀʀᴇ, which ᴄᴜᴛ her mouth, face and underneath her ear and chin. The ᴠᴜʟɴᴇʀᴀʙʟᴇ calf had sᴇᴠᴇʀᴇ ᴄᴜᴛs to the back of both her ears and her neck.
The ʙᴀʀʙᴀʀɪᴄ sɴᴀʀᴇ had wrapped itself around her cheeks and deep into her mouth.
Khanyisa’s ᴡᴏᴜɴᴅs were so ᴄʀɪᴛɪᴄᴀʟ that ᴍᴀɢɢᴏᴛs were eating the open fʟᴇsʜ that had started to ᴅᴇᴄᴀʏ around her cheeks, which caused her to have gaping holes in her mouth. She was taken to the Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation and Development center, three hours away.
One month later, Khanysia, named after the Tsonga word for light, weighs a healthy 150 kilograms (330 pounds), is adding 500 grams (1 pound) every day and spends her time playing with caretakers.
“She is a little ᴀʟʙɪɴᴏ elephant, so it is a bit different than your normal elephant just in caring, especially when the sun is kind of sᴇᴠᴇʀᴇ,” said Adine Roode, founder of the center, in the heart of Kapama game reserve. “Due to the animal human ᴄᴏɴfʟɪᴄᴛ, we are sitting with orphans. Because of the decreasing land and habitat, we will see an increase, in the future, of elephant orphans.”
It is not known how Khanysia was separated from her mother and herd, said Roode.
Sue Howells, from the ᴏʀɢᴀɴisation, said: “She looked so innocent, fragile and pure, and yet so brave — a unique beauty who had been sadly ᴍᴜᴛɪʟᴀᴛᴇᴅ by the hands of man.
“We knew we had to help her and pʀᴏᴛect her and give her a place of safety that she never has to endure such ᴛʀᴀᴜᴍᴀ again.
“Khanyisa is an exceptionally strong and brave little elephant.
“She is incredibly resilient and has what seems to be an uncrushable spirit.
“Her sweet, fragile and thoughtful personality shines through her toughness, despite everything that she has endured at such a young age.”