Birds of a feather – orphaned ostriches think they’re elephants after being ‘adopted’ by a herd of the large mammals as chicks
Meet Pea and Pod, the confused ostriches that think they’re ELEPHANTS after being raised by a herd of the large mammals.
Eight-month-year-old Pea and Pod aren’t just any ordinary ostriches, after being orphaned as chicks, they’re utterly convinced they’re elephants, so much so, they’re completely inseparable from the herd, which they follow around in single file all day long.
Whether it’s charging or nudging them while they play, or cuddling up with them in the same stable, the pair try to imitate the elephants’ every move.
Cyprian, who is their keeper at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, in Nairobi, Kenya, fed and raised the two lovable birds from chicks alongside dozens of orphaned elephant calves.
The orphaned pair were rescued when a team of keepers were called to The Milgis Trust, in northern Kenya, to transport an injured baby elephant to the Trust’s Nairobi nursery.
The chicks were in the care of the Kenya Wildlife Service, but with limited resources, they handed them over to the Trust, which could provide round-the-clock care.
Loaded onto the plane with the injured baby elephant, the chicks were flown to Nairobi, where they established an immediate rapport with the elephant calves at the nursery.
Cyprian said: “A team of keepers were called to northern Kenya in order to stabilise an elephant calf and prepare him for flight to the Trust’s Nairobi Nursery.
“The calf was rescued from a deep well and was close to collapsed when they found it.
“But just as the team were preparing the calf on the mattress to load into the plane, they were asked to rescue two orphaned ostrich chicks.
“The chicks were handed over and were loaded onto the airplane with the rescued baby elephant and flown to Nairobi.
“At first, they were raised along with some chickens, with me tending to them every day while they remained tiny.
“When they became older we integrated them with the elephants for a few hours at a time, and later they began to remain with the herds for the full day out in Nairobi National Park.
“From that point they became part of the herd of Nursery orphans, leaving their stable in the early morning with the elephants, and staying with them throughout the day.
“You could even say the elephants adopted them, accepting them as part of their extended family.”
Remarkably, the elephants at the Trust have embraced the feathered companions as one of their own, grabbing their necks and tugging at their feathers like playful siblings.
The birds, who now have their own stable next door to the elephants, are even protective of the herd; often walking behind them with their wings outstretched to guide the baby calves.
Cyprian said: “They have grown up with the elephants as company day and night, as they share a next door stable.
“They have each other for comfort and are inseparable, but all things elephant are extremely familiar to them.
“They understand the elephants, are part of their games, and enjoy their companionship.
“They are very comfortable in their company, and the elephants have become their family.”