The baby was only 3 weeks old.
It’s not often that elephants are spotted from a highway in?Botswana, let alone a solo baby elephant, but that’s exactly what happened to some drivers with?AfriAg, a transport company in?South Africa. When the drivers came across a downed bridge on their journey and were forced to take a break, they were suddenly glad that they had stopped in that spot.
The baby elephant popped out of the bushes nearby and seemed to be asking the drivers for help. Baby elephants usually stay with their parents for a long time; if they are female, they often stay in the same herd with their mother for the rest of their life and if they are male, they typically stick around until puberty around the age of 12. This baby was only about 3 weeks old and much too young to be on his own.
The male baby allowed the drivers to approach him, and they quickly realized that he was very thirsty and gave him water from their own bottles. Despite a search into the surrounding area, this baby seemed to be all alone and the drivers were worried about what might happen if they left him.
Instead, they waited until the bridge in front of them was fixed, loaded him into their truck, and drove him to a nearby sanctuary that they called ahead of their arrival.
“According to our information, the baby was taken to Botswana Elephant Sanctuary,” Paul Oxton, founder and director of Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation, told The Dodo. “In our opinion Botswana as a whole has one of the most remarkable, ethical and compassionate wildlife conservation strategies in the world.”
Botswana recently banned elephant riding and has taken comprehensive steps to ensure the conservation of elephants and other endangered species. It’s unclear if this baby could ever be released into the wild because of how young he was when he was abandoned, but what is clear is that the drivers found and rescued him just?in time because baby elephants are not able to live on their own and take care of themselves. Hopefully he is able to lead a healthy and fulfilling life no matter what, thanks to the kindness of these truck-driving strangers.
“Baby elephants are notoriously fragile,” Oxton said. “Even if he’s treated very well and appears to be strong at first, it might still be a long road before it can be claimed that he has fully recovered.”
Everyone who knows this baby’s story is definitely rooting for both his and his species’ recovery.
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