The most terrible emotion is being rejected by the person you thought to love you the most, your parents, especially if you love them unconditionally. This happened to a baby elephant who sobbed for hours because he couldn’t comprehend why his mother would assault and reject him.
He was born at Shendiaoshan Wildlife Sanctuary in Rong-cheng, China, and his name is ZhuangZhuang. Little Zhuang was not only rejected by his mother, but she also crushed him to death, injuring him. The episode was unique in that the mother elephant generally stays with her young until they are able to survive on their own.
Their handlers first assumed it was merely a disagreement between the mother and the newborn baby. The wounds on the calf were healed, and he was returned to his mother. However, the elephant’s mother attacked her young son once more as a result of the imminent attack.
They chose to remove the calf and his mother after concluding that the calf could no longer be with his mother without being injured. Although this choice was made to safeguard the calf from additional physical harm, it has already caused mental harm.
The handlers did everything they could to keep tiny Zhuang quiet, but no one could have predicted what transpired following the separation. For more than five hours, the calf sobbed! Zhuang’s heart was filled with separation anxiety and the sense of being rejected, and the sound of his cry was heartbreaking.
“He was furious and wept for five hours before I was able to console him.” One worker stated, “He couldn’t tolerate being away from his mother, yet the same mother tried to kill him.”
Julia S. Ferdinand, an elephant specialist, and Andrea Worthington, a doctor of zoology and ecology, went into further detail about the cause of this unique occurrence.
“In the wild, all members of an elephant herd grow up caring for all of their younger calves. They learn to be parents efficiently with the help of their family, who are always there.”
Other interesting details regarding elephant moms’ behavior are added by experts. Elephants normally give birth in the company of their relatives and pick “nurses” from among their relatives to assist them in raising their young, although this only happens in the wild.
“Animals’ maternal protective instincts towards their young might be harmed by living in captivity outside of conventional family groupings,” they stated.
This is what happened to ZhuangZhuang, and because he was the first-born calf, things grew much worse.
“If she is a first-time mother, she may be terrified, and an inexperienced may assault or hurt her infant, either purposefully or unintentionally, owing to the agony of childbirth.” If the animal is in the wild, its relatives will assist it throughout childbirth, helping it to decrease pain and give birth gently, according to specialists.
She may not be a horrible mother, but elephants in captivity and those afflicted by birth are tough to handle, especially without the assistance of family. Thankfully, one of the handlers had a unique connection with Zhuang and was able to calm him down.