Get ready to shed a tear or two.
After a 5-month-old elephant’s mother died of an internal infection, the orphaned baby refused to leave her body, laying on top of it and lovingly hugging his deceased mom (don’t worry – we promise this has a happy ending!).
The grieving calf was dehydrated and unable to fight off predators on its own, which is when keepers from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Orphans Project intervened, tranquilizing the little one and flying him from Samburu, Kenya, to the organization’s elephant orphanage in Nairobi National Park.
The elephant was given the name Sokotei, fed milk and water and welcomed by 30 other young orphaned elephants, many alone due to the growing number of poachers preying on elephants in Africa.
“Once Sokotei is old enough to go to one of our reintegration centres, he will spend time going out into the bush to meet other herds, learn what food is safe and essentially learn how to be a wild elephant,” DSWT director Rob Brandford explained. “It can be a long process, it depends what age the orphan was rescued. If they were very young and have no memory of living wild, then it can take 7 to 8 years before they are in a position to survive in the wild.”
In a video posted by The Telegraph, Sokotei can be seen happily mingling with his new friends at the nursery, rubbing trunks and strolling through the outdoor greenery – looking like one very happy elephant!