When elephants become ᴠɪᴄᴛɪᴍs of habitat ᴅᴇsᴛʀᴜᴄᴛɪᴏɴ, human-elephant ᴄᴏɴꜰʟɪᴄᴛ and ivory ᴘᴏᴀᴄʜɪɴɢ, their young calves can’t sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴇ without help. Fortunately, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, in collaboration with the Kenyan Wildlife Service, provides a lifeline for elephant and rhino orphans.
Set up in 1977,The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is renowned for being the most successful Oʀᴘʜᴀɴ elephant ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇ and wildlife rehabilitation program in Kenya. With decades of experience on the front line, the Trust warns of the devastating consequences of elephant ᴘᴏᴀᴄʜɪɴɢ.
In some absolutely heart-melting scene, a baby elephant receives comfort and affection from a new herd, after he Lᴏsᴛ his mother. The emotional moment happened at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust – an elephant orphanage – and it shows once again these creatures are special beyond human imagination.
In 2018, when a crew of David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) was doing a regular patrol on a plane in the area, they spotted a calf’s lone traces on the sand alongside the Tiva River. They immediately realized something’s wrong, so a ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇ team was sent on the field. Soon they got there, the rescuers came across an ᴇxʜᴀᴜsᴛᴇᴅ calf that was desperately crying for his mum. Unfortunately, the mother ᴡᴀs ʟᴏɴɢ ɢᴏɴᴇ, but luckily for him, he meet the nicest people.
Once they brought him at the orphanage, the one year-old elephant, later named Mukkoka undergone a medical evaluation, the he was properly fed with the Sheldrick orphanage’s magical milk formula and within days he miraculously recovered. Nevertheless, life is nothing but tough for an Oʀᴘʜᴀɴ elephant, so the volunteers decided to introduce Mukkoka to the new family, hoping he’ll find at least some little comfort.
As soon as he met his new herd, the other elephants surrounded him with care and attention, like they could feel his sorrow. The young calf was now a part of a new family, and he would never be left behind, ever again.
“They immediately enveloped him and led him out into the forest to meet the rest of the nursery herd. The greeting he was met with was a warm one, with the other babies reaching out their trunks to comfort and welcome Mukkoka as a new family member” – Rob Brandford, executive director of DSWT.
It was an especially touching moment for the elephants’ human caretakers, even though they see the animals’ deep family bonds and compassion for others nearly every day.
While Mukkoka has faced the grave ʟᴏss of his mother, he’s in the best possible place to prepare him to return to the wild again one day. He’ll likely spend the next 10 years being cared for by DSWT until he’s reintegrated into a protected wild habitat. Until then, he’ll be healing and learning all the ropes of how to be an elephant — with encouragement from his sweet adoptive family every step of the way.