In a heartbreaking photo, Kadiki, the elephant, is seen comforting baby Beatrix as she meets the rest of the herd in Zimbabwe.
When rescuers discovered her trapped in a ditch, dehydrated, and in immediate danger of passing out from heat stroke, she was just a few days old. Despite being brought back to health, Beatrix, the orphaned baby elephant, had a lifelong fear due to her horrific birth.
Then Kadiki, an older orphan housed in the same shelter, intervened to assist. She even carefully wrapped her trunk around Beatrix to reassure her the day she first saw other, much larger members of the herd at their haven in Zimbabwe, as our heartwarming photos demonstrate.
Elephants, as the saying goes, “never forget.” In this instance, Kadiki may have been remembering her own harrowing beginning when she gave the “trunk cuddles.”
The Mail revealed in 2019 how Kadiki, whose name in the Shona language means “the little one,” overcame the odds after being attacked by a lion when she was just a day old, sustaining severe injuries to her tail and deep claw wounds to her trunk.
Veteran animal rescuer Roxy Danckwerts, the creator of the nonprofit Wild Is Life and its Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery, took her in (ZEN). Kadiki was healthy enough to regain her ability to walk despite being on a drip following surgery to amputate a portion of her tail and treatment for her trunk. She is doing well now.
“I really believe in the culture of caring; people and animals motivating others to protect and nurture, as well as to appreciate the significance of conservation,” Roxy Danckwerts continued. During the difficulties of lockdown, this message has become more relevant than ever. I’m hoping that hearing about these elephants will inspire others to take action to conserve nature.
Elephants are a matriarchal species, and in the wild, ‘aunty’ figures will assist in taking care of a herd’s offspring. Keepers anticipated that another older female elephant named Moyo, who is eight years old, would watch out for little Beatrix when she first came to the refuge just before Christmas. Moyo had previously done this with other elephants.
However, to their delight and astonishment, Kadiki, age 2, has stepped up to assume the role of “mother.” She has developed an “amazing bond” with Beatrix, according to the keepers, and has shown patience, kindness, and protection for the child.
In the past seven years, Miss Danckwerts, 55, has saved roughly 25 elephants. She added, “You think you know so much about them then they do something else remarkable.” They have so lot to teach us, especially about accepting others.
Beatrix arrived at the scene extremely agitated and trying to flee, just an hour or so before she passed dead. Beatrix was swiftly taken under Kadiki’s wing, cared for, shown the ropes, and given confidence by her. She probably needed that to survive.
Under Kadiki’s cautious attention, Beatrix has grown more self-assured and now enjoys playing with her human carers, even rolling around on the ground with one. She also gives her soothing “trunk cuddles.”
Beatrix, who is now a little more than a month old, is also learning about the value of mud baths for elephants. They find it challenging to stay cool in the stifling African sun since they have little hair and sweat glands. They are kept cool by the mud, which also acts as a barrier against the sun’s rays.
One of the more rambunctious teens in the sanctuary’s herd is Bumi, another orphan who was featured in the Mail’s 2019 story and was saved after becoming trapped between rocks and developing severe sunburn.
Beatrix, Kadiki, Bumi, and other elephants that have been rescued by the nursery near Harare supported by the International Fund for Animal Welfare are eventually hoped to be transported to Panda-Masuie, a forest reserve close to Victoria Falls, where they can be protected from poaching and hunting and ready for integration into wild herds.
“IFAW believes in the significance and necessity of saving individual animals, one at a time,” said Neil Greenwood, IFAW Regional Director for Southern Africa. By doing this, we may contribute to the preservation of current populations as well as the habitat that we all share.
“Animal and human lives are inextricably linked.” We are extremely delighted to be a part of this important project that gives elephants a chance to develop, go back into the wild, and have space to wander.