The elephant stayed at his friend’s side and didn’t want to leave him

“He showed concern and safety.” We were certain that he was aware that assistance was available.”

This wild young elephant refused to move from his wounded friend’s side — no matter what.

Rangers checking in Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve earlier this week spotted five elephants hurt by arrows. When the rangers gathered information from adjacent villages, they discovered what had happened: local farmers had shot the elephants after they had eaten part of their crops.


David Sheldrake, Wildlife Trust

Olarro Conservancy forest rangers quickly informed the Kenya Wildlife Agency (KWS) and the Mara Elephant Project (MEP), who informed the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT). So everybody worked together to arrange for a portable veterinary team to fly out and treat the elephants.

Before the crew can assist the damaged elephant, the wounded animal must be sedated — and this must be done by helicopter. After the crew fought the first male, it turned away from the herd, which included a larger elephant and a calf.


David Sheldrake, Wildlife Trust

“From the air, it was presumed it was a mom and her calf,” said Angela Sheldrick, CEO of DSWT. Following that, the ground workers confirmed the presence of two young bulls with a calf.”

This calf, perhaps 18 months old, was near the sleeping elephant, who may be the calf’s sibling, though this was an unknown fact. The mom of the calf is missing in action.


David Sheldrake, Wildlife Trust

“When the young bull surrendered to the anesthesia, the infant was very concerned about the baby and agreed to leave his side,” Sheldrick added. “Throughout the procedure, the young man bravely stayed with the young bull.”


David Sheldrake, Wildlife Trust

Being around humans may be frightening for newborn elephants, especially because humans are the ones that damage their companions in the first place. But nothing can keep him from sticking with the bulls.


David Sheldrake, Wildlife Trust

“The calf that is close, occasionally atop the calf, is clearly worried about its recumbent posture but is too devoted to run away or leave beside it,” Sheldrick explains. “He was thought to be unharmed since he was entirely encircled by humans during the procedure.” On the other hand, it was his love and dedication to the patient.”

While no one knows what the baby elephant is feeling, Sheldrick believes he is aware that the vet is assisting his pal.


David Sheldrake, Wildlife Trust

“This is no little calf,” Sheldrick observed. “At 18 years old, he is still capable of defeating an older man.” He did not show any animosity during the procedures, which was rare for a wild elephant in this scenario. A youngster who is too young will usually flee, rush to blast a trumpet, or strike him.

According to Sheldrick, the young elephant stayed calm and attentive during the test, despite many cars and people visiting and departing the area.


David Sheldrake, Wildlife Trust

“He displays concern and protection, but elephants are clever creatures, and somehow we feel confident he understands we’re here to assist,” Sheldrick continued. This is even more amazing given the previous human-wildlife conflict and the damage inflicted on this herd by human hands.

The veterinary team assisted the five wounded elephants for two days. Luckily, there were no dangerous injuries, and the elephants were able to fully recuperate and rejoin their herd.


David Sheldrake, Wildlife Trust

“It’s been a really unique day for everyone concerned, and many on the ground have expressed how moved they are by the youngster’s caring conduct,” Sheldrick said. “Of course, responding to instances like these, where elephants have been harmed through no fault of their own… is always an emotional experience for the crews.” “Realizing you can play an important role in someone’s life, on the other hand, is empowering.”