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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Sheedy

The Cheeky, Considerate Ellie, Who Broke Into Our Property

You know when you’re a child, and your parents wake you up and tell you the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus has visited? And you’re so excited and in slight disbelief, so you jump out of bed, and go and check the trail…

Well, this is sort of what happened to me yesterday morning. Except it wasn’t an Easter bunny, or Santa Claus… it was an elephant bull. Which is even better in my opinion… 

The ellie's 'thank you' gift

I was lying in bed, drinking a cup of coffee, answering some emails, when my grandparents knocked on my door. “Oh, my girl”, my grandmother started, “I’m so glad you’re still in bed, I thought you would’ve been out exercising already, and I was so worried. Sipho says an elephant broke into our property last night and left quite a trail in his wake. I just didn’t want you to run into him out there”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I often have this recurring dream, that elephants are strolling our property, but never in my wildest thoughts did I think this dream would become true.

I quickly got dressed and hopped on the golf cart with my grandparents and off we went to have a look. None of us really believed Sipho at this point, but we found poor Sipho, at the generator,cleaning up the mess of broken branches (Luckily, he was quite a considerate ellie, who didn’t leave too much of a mess). He did, however, leave a huge pile of dung – as a thank you for all the wild mangoes that he had consumed on our property, before heading back into the park.

Sipho cleaning up the ellie's mess

We went down to check the fence, which was pushed over a bit, but not completely, and found more ellie dung leading up from the fence towards the swimming pool. The considerate jumbo clearly had a wonderful visit on our property.

We let the section ranger know, and called the guys who work the fence, and within the hour they had arrived.

They inspected the damage, fixed as much of it as they could, and promised to return the following morning with more staff to straighten it out.

I realised though, that this ellie would probably return before they could get the electricity working on the fence, as now he knew how easy it was to break in.

That afternoon, the perp returned. We kept a watchful eye on the bull, but he didn’t come up to the fence, instead he stayed in the reeds feeding and having a mud bath. Until sunset that is…

Gram and I were on our afternoon walk when we saw there was a small herd of elephants on the other side of the fence. This cheeky bull walked right up to the fence, and lay his head on it, pushing it down, and began to put his front legs over. We clapped and told him no… but he just looked at us, and climbed right over anyway! And before we knew it, he was helping himself to the wild mangoes that had fallen off the tree.

The cutest perp, ever!

My Gram and I were safely viewing him from the patio of unit 1, with the sliding door open, in case we needed to make an escape. But he was completely laid back, enjoying his dinner.

Have you ever seen an elephant climb a fence before? It is rather comical the way they do it, and most impressive. Who knew that a hefty body (approx. 7 tonnes) like that could make it over such a high fence so effortlessly. I was actually in such shock, that I didn't even capture it on film.

We called the section ranger, who arrived shortly after (a true hero, who is always there when you call on him), and he promptly chased the ellie back over the fence and safely into Kruger.

Now, I’m not sure if he returned that night, but I can confirm that I found more dung and tracks along the inside of our fence, so it wouldn’t surprise me…

But, luckily, I had no surprises the next day when I was doing my morning exercising.

A little while later, the guys from the fence arrived, sorted out the electricity and fixed the fence that it looks brand new, and like no pachyderm had ever broken in.

Veterinary Services Fixing our fence

Later that afternoon, I found the big guy strolling along the fence, but on his side, and he was being extremely well behaved.

I can happily report that no more attempts have been made on his part to break in, and I believe he won’t try his luck with the electricity working again, which is good for all of us. I love this ellie and have spent many hours with him over the last few years.

This is the first time something like this has happened here with an ellie, since we had the new fence put in after the 2000 floods. And with the assistance of Sanparks and veterinary services, everything was sorted quickly, keeping us (and the ellie) safe.

It’s moments like these, that make me more grateful than ever for this magical, wild life I get to lead here. And if this is the only sort of problems I must face, living on the corner of the Kruger National Park, in my little Elephant Walk Retreat paradise, then I am so ok with that ;) Give me these problems any day! x


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