Baby elephant refυses to leave injυred mom’s side

A heart-wrenching scene unfolded in northern Kenya when a small calf was spotted cuddling up to its deceased mother’s body.

Tragically, the mother elephant had succumbed to an infection, leaving the young bull vulnerable to the cold and potential predators. Concerned wildlife experts, fearing for the calf’s safety, worked tirelessly throughout the night to capture the mourning animal. Despite their efforts, the calf stubbornly refused to budge.

Finally, in the early hours of the morning, veterinarians were able to tranquilize the calf. The next step was to transport him to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage located in Nairobi National Park. The orphanage, the only one of its kind in Kenya, offers a safe haven for elephants from all over East Africa.

The severely dehydrated calf, named Sokotei, was taken to the orphanage after the flight. Keepers promptly provided him with much-needed milk and water to quench his thirst. Upon his arrival, some of the other 30 orphans at the nursery came forward to welcome and offer comfort to the new addition.

Despite the initial shock of his new surroundings, Sokotei soon found solace in the company of his new friends. His rescue had been a race against time, as he was extremely vulnerable alone and at risk from predators. The teams from Save the Elephant and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust persevered throughout the night to ensure his safety.

Rob Brandford, the director of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, explained that Sokotei would be under their care until he reaches the age of three and is no longer dependent on milk. Afterward, he will be transferred to one of two reintegration centers in Tsavo National Park.

At the reintegration center, Sokotei will learn essential survival skills from other herds, including identifying safe food and adapting to life as a wild elephant. The process can be lengthy, especially if the orphan was rescued at a very young age and lacks memory of life in the wild. Some elephants require up to 7-8 years before they are ready to survive independently in their natural habitat.

The tragic death of Sokotei’s mother, an elephant known as Cherie, was later attributed to a serious internal infection caused by a twisted gut. Sadly, this incident is just one of many that highlight the increasing threat of poaching, which has led to more elephant calves being orphaned.

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s commitment to rescuing and rehabilitating orphaned elephants underscores the critical importance of wildlife conservation.

As the numbers of orphaned elephants rise due to poaching, the trust’s dedication becomes all the more vital in ensuring a hopeful future for these majestic creatures. Through their efforts, Sokotei and many others find a second chance at life, growing and thriving under the care of compassionate guardians until they are ready to return to the wild.

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