There is nothing more majestic than the sight of wild elephants, running freely and raising their trunks in triumph. Sadly, due to ivory poaching and deforestation, that sight is becoming increasingly rare throughout Africa. As a result, it has unfortunately become more common to find baby elephants orphaned and alone. The only way for a baby elephant to get left behind, is if its mother has been captured or killed. Like human children, baby elephants rely on their mothers for food and protection for the first few years of life. When elephants are orphaned, their rates of survival are extremely low – adding to the tragedy that is the current poaching crisis.
For the past 50 years, Daphne Sheldrick has been helping orphaned elephants at her home in Nairobi Kenya. In this clip is from Wisdom of the Wild by Allison Argo, we see Sheldrick in her element. Sheldrick has raised dozens of them over the years, right alongside her human family and says that she has learned a lot about motherhood in the process.
Elephants carry their young for almost two years and form strong social bonds with the entire herd starting at birth. All of this becomes very important when trying to provide care for orphaned baby elephants, who can easily die from a lack of emotional support.
This video calls us to think about the importance of family and love in the life of an elephant. It also causes us to question the morality of holding such intelligent animals captive, breaking up their delicate family units for circuses and zoos in the name of entertainment.
To learn more about Daphne Sheldrick and the organization her family founded, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, click here.