Awww! Adorable images and video give a unique insight into the lives of baby orphaned elephants
Wrapped in blankets, being bottle fed, having their trunks rubbed and playing in the mud these are the adorable images and video that give a unique insight into the lives of Africa’s orphaned elephants.
Orphaned due to ivory poaching, or habitat destruction, deforestation or drought each elephant rescued by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has its own unique story of survival.
The trust has an orphanage in Nairobi National Park in Kenyawhere they hand-raise the infant orphans before reintegrating them back into the wild.
These captivating images and video were captured by photographers James Suter and Antony Kimani during separate visits to the orphanage.
Together they give a special glimpse into the lives of these young elephants and their incredible relationship with the carers there.
James Suter, 30 from Cape Town, South Africa, was filming a Go Pro project at the orphanage last month when he captured cute images and video of the young orphans.
One of his clips shows adorable moment a baby elephant enjoyed having its trunk rubbed by a carer at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
He said staff rubbed the elephant’s trunks between their hands to clear their naval cavities.
The young elephants can also be seen wearing multi-coloured blankets on their backs like little coats.
Photographer Antony from … said the blankets like a lifeline for the young elephants as without their mother’s to cuddle up to they relied on the blankets for warmth and comfort.
He said: “These multi-coloured coats are their secret weapon for survival.
“In the wild, baby elephants are sheltered from the wind, rain and sun by their loving and attentive elephant herd, from the cold of the night and cooled in the shadow of their mother from the harsh rays of the sun during the heat of the day.
“At their young age, the elephants need full time protection, not just from poachers and predators, but from the wind, rain, cold and hot sun during the heat of the day.
“This is exactly what the blankets provide. Highly susceptible to pneumonia, without the protection of their fluffy blankets, the cold could claim the lives of many orphaned elephants.
“Although a wonderful tool for raising infant elephants, some orphans become overly attached to their ‘blanky’.
“Just like a human child, the orphans fiddle, suck and play with their blankets, comforted by what it represents.
“Yet there must come a time when each orphan must understand they no longer need the comfort of a blanket, and are slowly and lovingly weaned off their attachment on the journey to become a mature elephant and part of a wild herd in Tsavo.
“This happens when the elephants reach between 12 and 18-months old.”
“Not only do their blanky’s provide comfort for the young orphans but they also receive a lot of love and attention from the carers at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust who lovingly feed them milk from a bottle and even scratch their little trunks.”