In 2008 tragically an elephant fell down a cliff in the Sanbona Wildlife Reserve. Two days later, she died. Her orpahaned baby was unable to nurse from others in the herd so rangers took him in. They named him Themba, which means trust. The Shamwari Rehabilitation Centre rescued him and spent 2 years rehabilitating him to return him to the wild.
While Themba was at Shamwari, he befriended a sheep named Albert. They formed a strong bond taking walks together, taking dust baths, even both snacking on the elephant snack of acacia pods. They were fierce friends to the depth that Albert became protective and would not allow any others to join them; with one exception. They once accepted a baby giraffe into their friendship.
Unfortunately two years later, near the time of his anticipated release into the wild, Themba became ill with severe colic. Despite intensive treatments, Themba went into a coma and sadly died on Friday morning, 5th February 2010.
However during his short time here, he gained fame from his odd kinship with Albert, bringing much needed attention to his species and their survival.