In 2006, an elephant only 5 months old was found all alone by Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT) in Kenya. The organization decided to hand-raise this elephant, which they named Loijuk, until she was old enough to be released back to the wild.
Despite the many years that have passed, Loijuk still has a close bond with her rescuers. Every month, she returns to the sanctuary to visit. This month, however, is different: she surprised her human family with a newborn calf in tow.
It was clear the proud elephant mom couldn’t wait to show off her baby. The calf, who has since been named Lili, was only hours old — likely born only the night before.
Loijuk has never forgotten the kindness of those who helped her. She even invited Benjamin Kyalo, the head keeper, to have a special moment with her newborn calf.
“Benjamin was able to get close to Lili (who nestled into his legs), stroke her delicate newborn skin and breathe into her trunk, thereby letting her know who he was via his scent,” Rob Brandford, executive director of SWT, told The Dodo. “Elephants have an incredible memory and sense of smell and our keepers will often breathe into the orphans’ trunks so they can recognize who they are.”
Check out the video over at The Dodo.
(Image Credit: Sheldrick Wildlife Trust)