The wonders of the animal kingdom can leave us in awe, but it also has a darker side that can be difficult to comprehend. We have witnessed countless instances of mother elephants risking their lives to protect their offspring, highlighting the strong and crucial bond between them.
Elephants boast the longest gestation period, spending 22 months developing inside their mother’s womb before entering the world. They are also known for their monogamous nature, which strengthens the bond between mother and child and is vital for the baby’s survival.
At the Shendiashan Wild Animal Natural Reserve in China, a baby elephant named Zhuang Zhuang experienced a distressing ordeal when his mother attempted to harm him, leading the staff to separate them. While the separation was necessary for the baby’s safety, it left him profoundly saddened, and he cried inconsolably for five long hours.
When Zhuang Zhuang was born in 2013, his mother initially rejected him. The reserve staff initially believed it to be an accident and temporarily took him away to treat his wounds. However, upon his return, his mother once again exhibited aggression towards him, prompting the staff to permanently separate them. Despite their efforts to comfort and soothe baby Zhuang Zhuang, his tender heart remained shattered.
“The calf was deeply distressed, and it took five hours for someone to calm him down. His mother’s rejection was causing him such anguish,” shared an AP worker with Shared.com. Elephants live in social groups known as herds, where they collaborate to protect their young and support one another. Being part of a family group is of great importance to them.
Typically, it is the female members of the herd who care for the babies. While it is primarily the mother’s responsibility, other female elephants often lend a helping trunk. This cooperative behavior serves as an educational experience for young females, teaching them how to care for their own offspring. Iain Redmond, a wildlife officer with the Born Free Foundation and an elephant expert, explains that giving birth can be a daunting experience for some elephants as it may not go as expected.
The story of Zhuang Zhuang and his mother serves as a poignant reminder of the complexities of nature and the deep emotional bonds that exist within the animal kingdom.