The feeling of rejection by the person you expect to love the most, your parents, is the most painful, especially if you love them unconditionally. This happened to a newborn elephant who cried for hours. He could not understand why his mother attacked and rejected him.
His name is Zhuang Zhuang and he was born in the Shendiaoshan Wildlife Sanctuary in Rong-cheng, China. Baby Zhuang’ mother did not only rejected him. She also crushed him. That caused his injuries. This is highly unusual, as mother elephants usually accompany their young until they are able to fend for themselves.
At first, the caregivers thought it was a misunderstanding between mother and baby. They treated the baby elephant’s wounds and returned him to his mother. But the danger was great and the mother elephant attacked her baby again. Once they were sure that the calf could no longer be with its mother unharmed, they decided to separate them. Although they made this decision to protect the calf from further physical harm, the emotional damage had already been done.
The caregivers did their best to comfort little Zhuang, but no one expected what happened after the separation. The calf cried for more than five hours! Separation anxiety and feelings of rejection filled Zhuang’s heart and the sound of his crying was heartbreaking. A worker said: ,,He was very angry and cried for five hours until I comforted him. He couldn’t bear to be separated from his mother who wanted to kill him.”
Elephant expert Julia S. Ferdinand and Andrea Worthington, doctor of zoology and ecology, explained the reason for this unusual phenomenon in more detail: ,,In a free-ranging elephant herd, all members of the herd grow up to care for all their young. With the support of their families, who are always there for them, they really learn to be parents.”
Experts add other interesting facts about the behavior of elephant mothers: ,,Elephants give birth next to relatives and often choose family caregivers to raise the young, but this usually only happens with free-ranging elephants. Life in captivity outside traditional family groups may affect the animals’ protective maternal instinct towards their young.” Such was the case with Zhuang-Zhuang, made worse by the fact that she was the first calf born.
,,If a woman is primiparous, she may be frightened, and an inexperienced mother in labor may attack or harm her baby, intentionally or for other reasons. In the wild, loved ones help her give birth, which reduces pain and helps her to give birth slowly.” Experts say. True, she is not a bad mother. Elephants affected by giving birth and living in captivity are difficult to deal with, especially without the help of loved ones. Fortunately, one of the zookeepers had a special relationship with Zhuang and managed to calm her down.
Watch the video of Zhuang in the video below. Don’t forget to share her story with your family and friends!