Sacrifice as an Adoptive Father Ensures an Orphaned Elephant’s Comfort in Grief

Caregivers are devotedly looking after orphaned baby elephants, providing round-the-clock care to ensure they grow healthy and strong.

The individuals belong to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) and they actually sleep near the elephants, ready to wake up at night to care for and feed them.

In an interview with The Dodo, a caregiver expressed, “Taking care of these animals feels just like having my own babies in the room. It’s a familiar feeling, just like when my kids were infants and I had to wake up at any hour to feed and care for them.”

One of the keepers mentioned that the baby elephants often make loud calls during the night, especially the younger ones.

The juveniles are quite restless, similar to human infants, and frequently wake up during the night. Sometimes they cry out for food – requiring you to rouse from your sleep, much like a mother tending to a newborn baby.

The caretakers ensure that the infants are wrapped in cozy blankets as the temperature drops. “I remember back when the keepers used to snooze on a mat on the ground, a couple of years back, the elephant would tug the blanket off one of the keepers to nudge them awake for milk, and gently brush their face with a damp trunk,” one person shared.

When a baby is hungry for milk, they tend to inadvertently kick off their own blanket! It’s like clockwork – every three hours, you’ll feel tiny hands reaching out to snatch away your cozy covers.

Many experienced keepers can instinctively tell when the baby animals are hungry and need to be fed, as if they have an internal clock set to wake up every three hours.

After being fed, the elephants will care for the babies until they fall asleep again. They may snore, trumpet, and even kick their legs in their sleep.

Not only are they loud snorers during their slumber, but they also tend to be quite gassy as well, which means that the keepers must become accustomed to the unique aroma in the sleeping quarters.

I remember a time when we would sleep on a mattress on the hay, and I had a close encounter with an elephant who almost dropped dung on my face while I was sleeping. It was such a surprise to wake up and find it right in front of me!

It is important for the caretakers to stay close to the elephants at night, providing them with a sense of security that is comparable to having their mother by their side.

“You play a maternal role in their lives, providing them with the comfort they need to sleep soundly. This peaceful rest is essential for their healthy growth and development.”

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