New parents love showing off their babies. This is true around the world and, apparently, also for other species, too.
After an elephant, reared since a young age by humans, gave birth to a brand new baby boy, she felt the same compulsion. She returned to her human family and introduced them to the newest addition.
Staff at David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust were treated to a wonderful surprise last month.
In November, the staff at Kenya’s David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust received an unexpected visitor. Yatta, an 18-year-old elephant that they had raised since she was 1 month old, returned to the reserve with a new addition—her cute newborn son.
“She’s now a proud momma,” her caretakers wrote in a Facebook post. “And in a show of absolute trust and affection for her former carers, brought her newest baby Yoyo back to meet the people who saved her.”
Yatta was orphaned when she was 1 month old after poachers killed her mother for her tusks. This is a story all too familiar for elephants who face poaching by ivory hunters. In these unfortunate cases, the baby elephants are left to fend for themselves and, more often than not, die.
“For elephants, family is everything.”
But Yatta was lucky. She was found by DSWT staff quickly, who took care of her until she was ready to be reintroduced into the wild.
For the staff, Yatta is a miracle—the elephant not only was able to reintegrate with a herd of other orphan elephants, but she has also successfully give birth to two babies, each of which she brought back to meet her human family.
“For elephants, family is everything,” DSWT staffer Rob Branford told The Dodo. “So it’s no surprise that they choose to introduce their new family member with their former human carers, because for the elephant, they are part of their family.”
Encounters like this are becoming increasingly common, but this time it was even more special.
During the encounter, the newborn, whom staff have named Yoyo, did not stray far from his mother. Instead, he hung close and flapped his ears as DSWT staff watched in pure delight.
This was not the first time they experienced such a heartwarming event. In recent years, other female elephants raised by DSWT have made similar trips to show off their babies.
But this last encounter was special. Not only did Yatta bring her newborn baby, Yoyo, but two other elephants brought their newborns, as well.
These newborns are not just symbols of conservation, but also of the strong bonds they created between DSWT staff and these incredible animals.
DSWT staff labeled them their October babies and their births brought the total number of elephants born to orphaned parents up to 28, a huge success for their conservation efforts.
But these newborn elephants are more than just symbols of conservation. Instead, they represent the strong familial bond the staff at DSWT has created with these incredible animals. And for them, being introduced to a new member of Yatta’s family was the greatest gift they could ask for.
“Imagine our delight when Yatta chose to share her second birth with us,” the DSWT wrote in an update. ”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.”