Meet The Herd

Our resident elephant herd at Knysna Elephant Park is presently made up of ten elephants, two males and eight females, but we also contribute to the welfare of 28 other captive elephants around South Africa. As our research progresses, we hope to continue expanding our family to captive facilities further afield. Already through our research, AERU has contributed to the welfare of elephants as far afield as Hungary and Spain

Most of the research, interaction and monitoring activities focus on the matriarchal herd. This herd consists of our adult and adolescent female elephants and the youngsters. They are all guided through their daily activities by matriarch Sally who was the first elephant to arrive at the Knysna Elephant Park in 1994. Each elephant holds a special place in the herd, depending on their age and social standing.

This matriarchal herd structure is unique to AERU – not many other facilities in South Africa have a group that is similar to the herd structure seen in wild elephant herds and includes matriarchs, mothers and daughters, allo-mothers and adolescent young males finding their feet!