Picture: Beautiful News South Africa
What’s a widowed ostrich to do? Fransina never had a family, just a single mate with whom she lived with at Indalu Game Reserve. When he passed on, Fransina found herself all alone. She tried befriending the sheep nearby. But they just didn’t click. For a while, Fransina spent her days roaming around unaccompanied. 

Antelope, zebra, and rhino crossed her path, then went about their way. The flightless bird almost resigned herself to being a misfit – until she met mammals far beyond her size.

A herd of elephants at the reserve noticed Fransina ambling by on her own. Highly sociable creatures, the gentle giants are known for having the biggest hearts on land, which can weigh up to 21 kilograms. While the elephants screened Fransina as a potential crew member, she overcame her doubts about the intimidating figures from a safe distance. Once she understood their peaceful nature, she began tagging along.  

Today, the sight of the leathery creatures with their feathered friend is perfectly normal. The ostrich has adapted to life among the elephants and never steps ahead of the leader. In the herd, nine-year-old Fransina has a place to belong for the rest of her days. Ostriches have a lifespan of approximately 45 years, while elephants can live up to 70. This friendship is just the start of an unusual yet beautiful journey together.