Zoe the savanna elephant has found family again.
When the pachyderm was 2 years old, her entire family was killed by poachers for their ivory tusks, leaving Zoe an orphan – until she met her new herd.
Zoe’s story is explored in National Geographic’s Secrets of the Elephants, an upcoming docuseries directed by National Geographic explorer-at-large and filmmaker James Cameron.
In an exclusive clip from the show — narrated by Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman — Secrets of the Elephants introduces viewers to Zoe’s current family.
After losing her herd to poachers, Zoe tried to join other elephants. Unfortunately, the young animal didn’t fit in with any of the elephant herds rescuers introduced her to.
“Her need for a family never faded,” Portman says in the clip of Zoe.
Eventually, after failing to connect with other elephants, Zoe “took matters into her own hands” and made herself the matriarch of “her very own herd of buffalos.”
The clip from Secrets of the Elephants shows Zoe, now 50, communicating with her buffalo herd, using moans and headbutts to make her wishes known.
In the video, Portman explains that Zoe’s buffalo family “has learned to understand her” and goes on long walks throughout the day to keep up with the elephant matriarch, who likes to eat on the move.
Zoe is just one of the extraordinary elephant stars in Secrets of the Elephants. The series travels from the deserts of Africa to the urban landscapes of Asia to show how elephants use emotions, strategy, and language to make their way through the world.