Look At The Consequences Of Human Greed For This Baby Elephant

Late last night, word came in that a female elephant had been sʜᴏᴛ and ᴡᴏᴜɴᴅᴇᴅ and that there were two young elephants with her who needed rescue. A lot of work is done to ensure that elephants that are ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇᴅ are actually ᴏʀᴘʜᴀɴs and not temporarily ᴀʙᴀɴᴅᴏɴᴇᴅ. In this situation, the mother had to be ᴇᴜᴛʜᴀɴɪᴢᴇᴅ as her ɪɴᴊᴜʀɪᴇs were so ᴄʀɪᴛɪᴄᴀʟ. The team flew in, tracked the elephant for a while, and finally caught up. The mother had been sʜᴏᴛ in the shoulder, mangling her enough that she was not able to support herself on all four legs. The baby was ᴅᴀʀᴛᴇᴅ first. Then the mother.

We assume it was a ᴘᴏᴀᴄʜᴇʀ as the evidence of the accurate ᴋɪƖƖᴇʀ sʜᴏᴛ to the head. That kind of sʜᴏᴛ takes precision and practice. When it is a human-wildlife ᴄᴏɴғʟɪᴄᴛ the ɪɴᴊᴜʀɪᴇs tend to be more on the leg, foot, or shoulder sʜᴏᴛs.

As you can imagine she was incredibly ᴛʀᴀᴜᴍᴀᴛɪᴢᴇᴅ and when she arrived at the sanctuary it took us a long time to gain her trust. We spent day and night, talking, singing, offering her seed pods, fresh grass… anything we could think of to win her over so that she would accept a bottle from us but she just didn’t want anything to do with us. And we didn’t blame her. But we needed to convince her that we were there to help her.

Then, one day, after spending an hour or so in her stable sitting in a ring of 4 tires stacked up she finally took a bottle and a strong bond was formed. A silent understanding that we now trust each other. Now Shaba is absolutely instrumental at the sanctuary as the matriarch of the orphan herd. She keeps order, teaches the young ones how to navigate steep paths, and most incredibly greets every new orphan who arrives at the sanctuary with a heartfelt and emotional hello.

Not only this but she has taught us, the keepers so much too. When we changed our uniform from what she was used to, to a camouflaged jacket Shaba showed signs of stress and anxiety and was charging everyone and everything. Perhaps her mother’s kiƖƖer was wearing a similar camouflage jacket? We changed it back and she immediately calmed.

Watching Shaba and her behavior amongst the other elephants and how they respond to her is fascinating and there is something to be learned from her every day. She is the anchor of this unique orphan herd and she is instrumental in the success of the ᴏʀᴘʜᴀɴs around her.

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