Wild animals are extremely protective with their offsprings, especially elephants – known as highly social creatures – so they won’t let any human being to come anywhere close to their little ones. But when they do, it is a sign of deep trust.
So you can imagine how surprised these volunteers at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust – an elephant orphanage in Kenya – were, when one of the elephants they’ve raised and cared over the years, paid them a visit. But not alone, but with her own baby. She decided to introduce her calf to the people who showed her so much love and offered her all the comfort she needed.
The elephant female Loijuk, was only 5-month-old when a rescue team from the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust found her. The then tiny elephant was weak and sad after she lost her mother due poaching. But she thrived at the orphanage. When the time came, Loijuk returned where she belonged – in the wild. However, the bond she used to share with her caretakers proved to be eternal, so she kept visiting these kind people nearly every month.
When Loijuk became a mother for the very first time, she knew she had to introduce her newborn to those people who helped her so much over the years. Among all the caretakers at the orphanage, it was Benjamin Kyalo the one with whom Loijuk had the strongest bond, so it was him the one she choose to pet and share some unique moments with her little baby. Overwhelmed, the man couldn’t believe his eyes a wild animals acts of this manner. It was the sign of ultimate trust between an elephant and the human who used to take care of her like she was her own child.
“He [Benjamin] was able to get close to Lili (how they named the newborn calf), stroke her delicate newborn skin and breathe into her trunk, thereby letting her know who he was via his scent,” Rob Brandford, executive director at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, explained to The Dodo. “Elephants have an incredible memory and sense of smell and our keepers will often breathe into the orphans’ trunks so they can recognize who they are.”
The beautiful encounter between Benjamin and Loijuk and her newborn calf was caught on camera and it is so adorable to watch. Take a peek: