Elephant strikes up such close friendship with handler he won't leave his side

Photographer Sam Turley captured the images at the Imire Wildlife Conservation Center in Zimbabwe, showing Makhavusi the elephant and his human handler Marupia who have built a strong friendship

Makhavusi, a hand-raised elephant, and Marupia, an elephant handler, are best friends (

Image: Sam Turley / CATERS NEWS)

Elephants never forget, as the saying goes – and if that’s true, Makhavusi’s best buddy has to catch up on something.

His human henchman Marupia Chivhanga recently returned from a month-long vacation – and Mak has barely left his side since then.

Photographer Sam Turley, who took these pictures of the unlikely friendship, said, “Marupia went to Mak and Mak examined him fully with his suitcase.

Video diary: Memories of Africa

Get the latest news delivered to your inbox. Sign up for the free Mirror newsletter

The photos were taken at the Wildlife Conservancy in Zimbabwe, Africa


Sam Turley / CATERS NEWS)

“Marupia then gently placed his forehead on Mak’s foreleg and as a greeting Mak let out the longest and deepest rumble I have ever heard – a greeting that I thought was only intended for the closest members of the elephant family.”

Marupia, who spends the whole day with the 43-year-old Mak, forged a unique bond with the elephant at the Imire Conservation Center in Zimbabwe.

Makhavusi was supposed to be sold to a zoo as a calf, but was instead rescued and taken to the wildlife sanctuary


Sam Turley / CATERS NEWS)

Rescuers saved him from being sold to a zoo as a calf. Sam added, “Mak has built some incredible relationships with conservation workers. He visibly enjoys interacting with Marupia and it is clear that the feeling is mutual.

“Since Mak has never had a herd, Marupia has become part of his unconventional herd.”


Leave a Comment