Heartbreaking photos show an elephant mother carrying around the body of her baby calf for days after the baby elephant had passed away. The pictures were captured at Namibia’s Twyfelfontein Country Lodge, showing the mom carrying the calf around using her trunk.
William Stegmann, a spokesperson for the Twyfelfontein Country Lodge told Newsweek that the elephant was born on October 27th, 2022, to a group of elephants in the Huab River.
“From the first day, the baby was not very strong and struggled to keep up with the herd as they trek long distances to reach drinking water,” Stegmann told Newsweek. “On the 28th, the guides still saw the baby, but we speculate that she must have passed away during the evening. The heart-wrenching photo was taken on the morning of the 29th.”
The mother only placed the calf down to eat, and after two days, the matriarch chased the mother away from the dead body, and the herd moved on together, according to Twyfelfontein Country Lodge.
This is not something uncommon to see in elephants, They are intelligent and sentient creatures with emotions. They are highly social creatures, and the females live in close family groups and are led by a matriarch.
Elephant mothers carry their babies for around two years. Many believe this could be why it is so hard for mothers to lose their babies. However, Newsweek reported that the calf-carrying behavior could be a sign of a lack of understanding that the baby has died rather than grief.
We must remember each elephant has a unique story and is capable of the same emotional depth as humans. We are glad that this mother was able to grieve her baby outside of captivity and has her groups to help her get through this hard time
This article by Hailey Kanowsky was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 6 November 2022.
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