This 1-year-old little calf was wandering near a river in Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park all alone without his mother or any other elephant. He was petrified.

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Luckily, rescuers from David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT), an organization which rescues orphaned elephants, found him just in time. They found Mukkoka’s lone tracks in the sand beside Tiva River while doing an aerial sweep of the area. Unfortunately, no signs of his mother were found and no one knows what happened to her.

They immediately took Mukkoka to an orphanage for medicines and a drink of milk which he really needed after being alone for so long.

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

After some days, he felt a bit better. So, his caretakers decided to introduce him to other animals of his species.

Surprisingly, the elephants gathered around the baby and started to shower him with love and affection immediately after being introduced to him.

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

“They immediately enveloped him and led him out into the forest to meet the rest of the nursery herd,” Rob Brandford, executive director of DSWT, said. “The greeting he was met with was a warm one, with the other babies reaching out their trunks to comfort and welcome Mukkoka as a new family member.”

Elephants thrive when they have the company of others like themselves and they rely on friendship the most. Amazingly enough, these elephants knew Mukkoka needed it the most at the moment.

The human caretakers were deeply touched by the compassionate and closely- knit group of elephants who knew love better than many humans these days.

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

“Though it is something we have seen time and again, the empathy showed by these elephants never ceases to amaze,” Brandford said. “Remembering that they too have experienced the loss of their own family, their level of compassion is genuinely heartwarming to watch as they reach out to newly orphaned calves, offering comfort and friendship.”

Although Mukkoka is not at a great place emotionally because of losing his mother, he is in at the best possible place to be prepared to return to the wild again. He will possibly be under the care of DSWT for the next 10 years until he is escorted back.

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

He has a sweet adoptive family to take care of him until then.

“Touch [is] an important part of welcoming a new family member and making them feel safe,” Brandford added. “This loving interaction helps enormously as the orphans overcome the sense of loss.”

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