Horton, a superstar in the elephant world, famously exclaims, “I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful one-hundred percent!” And this assertion is no farce—elephants are fiercely faithful, standing by their herd amid adversity.
Bonolo, our 3 year old female, is perhaps the most faithful orphan we have, but her acute loyalty to the herd at Elephant Havens took time… lots of time. Bonolo witnessed humans harm her mother, and as Horton says, “elephants never forget, it’s a curse really…” Bonolo never forgot the violence humans showed her mother, and thus didn’t trust the handlers at Elephant Havens right away. But after weeks of gentle care, Bonolo finally took her rightful place in our herd, fully trusting the handlers (and even letting them massage her once in a while)!
Now that Bonolo is 100% comfortable, she looks out for the rest of the herd, showing honorable loyalty to her new brothers and sisters. But Bonolo wouldn’t be Bonolo without her characteristic head shake.
Swooping her trunk through the air like the blade of a chopper, Bonolo regally tosses her head to the side in a gesture of confidence and pride. She feels wafts of warm savannah air stroke the back of her ears as she practices this ritual. Her feet sway in unison with the silky periphery of her flapping ears. She is home—a word not defined by location or origin, but by intense faith in those around her.