There can be no doubt that elephants are beautiful, intelligent animals. They have been shown to mourn a dead companion, care for orphaned calves and have deep bonds of friendship.
At the David Sheldrick elephant orphanage, one of the leading elephant sanctuaries on the planet, further evidence of their loving and empathetic natures has been shown after one elephant refused to leave the side of its friend after she had been shot by a poison arrow.
Maikreti, the elephant who was injured, was originally brought to the orphanage in 2010 when she was found alone in the Kenyan wilderness. After a few years of raising and rehabilitating her, the sanctuary successfully released her back into the wild to live a natural life.
However, when she was shot by an arrow in July of this year, her first instinct was to rush back home to the orphanage. As the vets began treating her, it became apparent that not only had Maikreti remembered how to get back to a safe space, but the other elephants remembered her.
The arrow that had become lodged in her side wasn’t life-threatening, but her human and elephant friends all rallied around her during treatment.
One elephant, in particular, appeared particularly concerned for his friend. A young male named Kibo refused to leave her side throughout treatment. He remained out of the way while treatment was administered, hovering just over the shoulder of the carers.
As they finished their work Kibo produced a moment that will live long in the hearts and memories of the staff at David Sheldrick, when he held Maikreti’s trunk as she lay unconscious. When she didn’t get up, he began nudging her to try and wake her.
After the anesthetic had worn off, Maikreti did eventually rise to her feet. She is now on the way to a full recovery and will be staying at the orphanage until the wound is fully healed.