Wednesday Zen Moment: Baby elephant takes first steps in the wild

Gawa was only born on Saturday.

But here is the elephant, just hours old, taking her first steps and sticking close to mother, Galana, whose survival is a miracle itself.

Galana and her newborn, Gawa. David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust/Facebook

Galana was found as an orphan at just 14-months-old wandering alone outside of Kenya’s Tsavo National Park in 2004, and eventually rescued by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

“There were no other elephants nearby, but there was a pride of 5 lions not far away,” the wildlife trust reported at the time. “The calf had made a tiny den within the salt bush, where she was hiding.”

And look at her – and her baby – now.

The wildlife trust’s keepers in Ithumba were surprised to find the new new baby born to the first-time mother.

“There they both were, waiting outside the stockades, the baby born just hours before under the cover of darkness,” the group posted on Facebook.

Gawa makes herself at home with her new elephant family. David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust/Facebook

Gawa’s birth story is incredibly moving and demonstrates the powerful bond among elephants.

“She was escorted by five wild bulls and our dependent orphans Laragai and Narok were able to be the first nannies to the tiny baby once they left the confines of the night stockades.
Then the ex-orphans arrived and pandemonium broke out! They were so excited and overcome with joy of a new baby in the fold, trumpeting and charging around celebrating. Throughout the day Galana was surrounded by ex-orphans and wild elephants alike who have taken on the role of nanny to newborn Gawa.
Gawa means to share in Swahili, an apt name given how our ex-orphans always share the joy of their new born babies with us, their human family, and today was no different.
These moments are testament to the success of our Orphans’ Project and we hope all of you who help make this lifesaving work possible, will join us in sharing Galana’s joy.”

Hand-raised by humans, Galana is now part of a painstaking movement to protect a species from the devastation of poachers.

“A helping trunk from mum keeps Gawa on her feet,” writes the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust/Facebook

“We rescue individual orphaned elephants because we know rescuing an individual can help save a species,” the group noted.

The proof is clear to see.

Photos The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust/Facebook

About the author

Recovering newspaper reporter.

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