When an animal is orphaned in the wild, their only hope is to be taken into human hands. If they’re still too young and dependent on their mother’s milk for food, there’s no way they’d last more than a few days before becoming another animal’s dinner.
That’s why organizations like the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) are so important. Operating mainly from Kenya, it’s the leading orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation organization in the world. The mission statement on their website reads:
“The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust embraces all measures that compliment the conservation, preservation, and protection of wildlife. These include anti-poaching, safeguarding the natural environment, enhancing community awareness, addressing animal welfare issues, providing veterinary assistance to animals in need, rescuing and hand rearing elephant and rhino orphans, along with other species that can ultimately enjoy a quality of life in wild terms when grown.”
These days, though, they have a slightly taller member of the family.
While a group of folks noticed a baby giraffe with no mother in sight, they knew to call DSWT. The team members hopped on the case and safely rescued the hungry and scared baby giraffe from his vulnerable position out in the wild. He was fed food and drink, and was given the adorable name of Kiko.
Since he was too small to sleep with the other giraffes, he was placed with the baby elephants. Odds are that out in the wild this pairing would have never happened.
However, what the caretakers saw unfold was absolutely touching.
Weiwei and Lobito, two baby elephants, immediately took to their new tall neighbor. Lobito, who is only three weeks old, has especially taken heart to the giraffe. They’re hardly ever apart, and Lobito follows Kiko just about everywhere he goes.
It’s so cute to watch Lobito try to catch up to the stride of those extremely long legs!
Elephants normally form strong familial bonds, with a matriarch at the head of the herd. With no female to head the family, it looks like these two baby elephants turned to the next best thing: whoever was taller than them!
Giraffes also normally live in herds, although each individual giraffe is able to leave at their own will. They don’t normally form very strong social bonds, but it looks like Kiko is an exception to that rule.
The unlikely trio like to snuggle with each other, with the elephants hiding under Kiko’s belly and resting their trunks on his neck. They eat together, they roam together, and they cuddle together. They’ve really formed quite the odd little family, haven’t they?
But, that’s what you’ve got to do when you’ve got no one to turn to – make your own family.
Eventually, all three of these beautiful creatures will be able to be returned to the wild. Once they are big and strong and have found all of their instinctual survival skills, they’ll be released to live life as wild animals ideally should.
In the video below, you can see these cuties running around together and having a grand old time. Thank goodness for organizations like The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, as well as Nairobi Nursery that helped with the rescue. Without folks like them, we’d have many more endangered species on the list.
Watch the sweet video below.
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