All mothers are extremely proud of their babies and Yatta, a doting mother elephant, was no different. She was excited and could barely wait to introduce her baby to the caretakers who gave her love and care when she herself was young. These are the staff at Kenya’s David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT).
Yatta was rehabilitated back into the wild when she was ten. Eight years later, she came back to the Trust to show off her calf to the caretakers who had nurtured her when she was orphaned in 1999.
When she was a month old the caretakers at the Trust found her and brought her up by hand. She grew up with all the other elephants who had lost their mothers and she was taught to integrate with other older elephants who had also been orphaned early in their lives.
Lucky for all of us, the staff managed to capture the beautiful incident on camera. Affectionately named Yoyo, the baby elephant stuck close to his mother but flapped his ears and waved his little trunk excitedly when he was showered with love. Along with him came his sister Yetu, Yatta’s first calf and she made sure to stay close and keep an eye on her younger sibling.
According to the staff, Yatta was a proud mother and her bringing her calf to them showed how much she trusted and adored the people who had given her a new life.
Rob Brandford who works at the DSWT acknowledged that it was a fairly common event for the elephants to come back with their babies. However, each visit is a beautiful experience all on its own. Not only did the caretakers manage to save and nurture these orphaned elephants, but they also succeeded in helping them find their own place in nature. Elephants have a strong sense of family so it is not surprising that they want their old family and their new family to meet and know each other.
Yatta herself is something of a miracle to her caretakers because she’s had two children both with different elephants which had lived in the wild all their lives. They were delighted that she came to introduce Yoyo to them and had given them all the opportunity to celebrate little Yoyo and his good health.
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And that wasn’t the end of the good news! Yatta wasn’t the only ex-orphan to give birth. Two of her sisters who had also grown up at the Trust had had calves in that period and now the Trust can boast of a grand number of 28 babies which were born in the wild.
The Trust love seeing the baby calves whenever they can. It shows them that all the work they put in rescuing and caring for these orphaned elephants is bearing fruit. Like many of her family, Yatta had lost her mother to a poacher who wanted the ivory of her tusks. She was barely thirty days old and fortunately, workers had heard her crying and taken her to the Trust.
Including Yatta, the Trust has managed to rehabilitate over 100 elephants and now the staff goes patrolling in the wild to ensure that poacher don’t kill more elephants. They are beyond happy to see their precious charges grow and begin their own families in the wild. For them, it is the greatest reward they could have been given.
The three new calves have been collectively named “October Kids” and you can see them in this video below:
All images: David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust