Meet Yatta. This wild elephant was beyond excited when she became a mom; she wanted to introduce her baby to the people she really cared about. Her former caretakers at David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) in Kenya were in for a big treat, but they didn’t know that yet!
Yatta is an 18-year-old elephant who was released back to the wild over eight years ago. One day, she showed up out of nowhere with her newborn calf in tow. She wanted to introduce him to the rescuers who saved her life when she was just an orphan, back in 1999.
Yatta was hand-reared by human caretakers from one month of age. She lived alongside other orphaned elephants at the sanctuary. She was then integrated into a herd of adult ex-orphans living in the wild.
In this heartwarming video, the small baby, who has been named Yoyo by the rescuers, doesn’t stray too far from his mom. However, he shows off his excitement by flapping his ears and waving his trunk. Yatta even brought her firstborn daughter, Yetu, for the visit. She can be seen standing near her younger sibling.
“She’s a proud momma,” caretakers said. “And in a show of absolute trust and affection, she brought her newest baby back to meet the people who saved her.”
It is quite common for ex-orphans to return with their newborn calves. Whenever they decide to visit, it “is amazing,” Rob Brandford of DSWT said.
“We have not only saved an orphan baby and raised her, but she has successfully returned to the wild and started her own family,” Brandford said. “For elephants, family is everything — so it’s no surprise that they choose to share their new family member with their former human carers, for they are part of their family.”
Yatta has been nicknamed “miracle mum” because she has now given birth to two healthy calves fathered by wild-born elephants.
“Imagine our delight when she chose to share her second birth with us, returning to her former stockades and her human family, so that we could be a part of celebrating the arrival of her new baby — a healthy little boy,” caretakers add.
But the celebration was far from over. The caretakers soon observed that two of Yatta’s adopted “sisters”, who lived alongside her, had also given birth to calves that same month. This brought DSWT’s total count of wild-born babies to 28.
DSWT saves countless orphaned and injured elephants each year, many of them are victims of poaching. That is why the newborn calves are a very welcome sight. Yatta’s case is not so different. She was only one month old when her mother was killed for her tusks. Men working nearby heard her cries and helped transport her to DSWT. Her life changed for the better..
Yatta is now one of more than 100 orphaned elephants that have been returned back to the wild by DSWT. The organization also has a field team that patrols wild habitats to keep animals safe from poachers.
“We are delighted to witness the ex-orphan herds beginning to expand so naturally,” caretakers added. “There could be no greater gift for us, or testament to the success of the Orphans Project, than to share the joy of such perfectly healthy baby elephants like our three ‘October kids.'”
Check out this beautiful video of the three new calves below!
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