When an elephant mother lay on the ground in what would become her final resting place, her calf had nowhere else to go. So the baby elephant stayed by his dead mother, resting on her remains and refusing to leave her side.
A group of conservationists from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Kenya Wildlife Service and Save the Elephants looked on. They had been tracking the duo since the mother, Cherie, appeared to fall ill in early April, the Wildlife Trust wrote in an update.
Fearing the young elephant would not be able to fend for himself after his mother's untimely death, the rescue team worked to capture the calf. Veterinarians were finally able to tranquilize the baby elephant, and he was transported to the organization's elephant orphanage in Nairobi National Park.
The team documented the rescue in a video that shows the dehydrated elephant consuming two bottles of milk and water at the trust's nursery. After the calf recovered, he joined other young elephants who had lost their families. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust later named him "Sokotei."
The baby elephant's reaction to mother's death (from an internal infection) is just another example of how elephants are capable of experiencing emotions, much like humans. In another striking instance, an adult elephant stood guard over her deceased friend.
Though the notion that elephants have the capacity to grieve was once only supported by anecdotal evidence, in the past decade, researchers have studied elephants in mourning.
Watch a video, detailing how the rescue team recently saved the elephant calf who refused to leave his mother's side, below.
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