She was only a few days old when rescuers found her trapped in a ditch, dehydrated and in grave danger of dying from heat stroke.
Beatrix, an orphaned baby elephant, was brought back to health after her traumatizing start in life left her timid.
Kadiki, an elderly orphan living at the same sanctuary, came to her aid. Our heartwarming photos show that she wrapped Beatrix’s trunk in comfort when she met the other, larger members of their herd at the sanctuary in Zimbabwe.
‘Elephants never forget’, or so the old adage goes. In this case, Kadiki could perhaps have been remembering her own tough start when she dished out the ‘trunk cuddles’.
Beatrix, an orphaned baby elephant, was brought back to health after her traumatizing start in life left her timid. Kadiki, an elderly orphan from the sanctuary, came to her aid.
The Mail reported in 2019 how Kadiki, whose name means ‘the little one’ in the local Shona language, survived against the odds after being attacked by a lion when only a day old, suffering deep claw wounds to her trunk and terrible damage to her tail.
Roxy Danckwerts, a veteran animal rescuer and founder of Wild Is Life (ZEN) charity, took her in. Kadiki is now able to move again, despite the fact that she was still on a drip. Her health is excellent.
Elephants live in a matriarchal society with ‘aunty’ figures helping to care for a herd’s young in the wild. Keepers expected that Moyo (8 years old) would look after Beatrix when she arrived at the sanctuary just before Christmas.
But to their surprise – and joy – two-year-old Kadiki has taken on the mantle of ‘mother’. Keepers say she has formed an ‘extraordinary bond’ with Beatrix, has been ‘patient and kind’ and protective over the youngster.
As well as giving her comforting ‘trunk cuddles’, under Kadiki’s watchful eye Beatrix has become more self-assured and now enjoys playing with her human carers, even rolling about on the grass with one
Miss Danckwerts, 55, who has rescued around 25 elephants in the past seven years, said: ‘You think you know so much about them then they do something else extraordinary. We can learn so much from them and their willingness to accept others.
‘Beatrix was about an hour from death when she was found and arrived extremely highly strung, trying to run away. Kadiki took Beatrix quickly under her wing and taught her how to care for her. I think she needed that to pull through.’
As well as giving her comforting ‘trunk cuddles’, under Kadiki’s watchful eye Beatrix has become more self-assured and now enjoys playing with her human carers, even rolling about on the grass with one.
Beatrix, now just one month, is learning more about mud baths. They are unable to cool down in the African heat because they lack sweat glands and hair. Mud cools them and acts as a shield against the sun’s rays.
Another orphan, Bumi, who also featured in the Mail’s 2019 report and was rescued after getting stuck among rocks and suffering extreme sunburn, is now one of the more boisterous teenagers in the sanctuary’s herd
A nursery supported by the International Fund for Animal Welfare near Harare hopes Beatrix and Kadiki and Bumi, as well as other elephants, will be taken to Panda-Masuie in a forest reserve close to Victoria Falls. Here they can avoid poaching and hunting, and be ready for integration into wild herds.
To support IFAW and Wild Is Life-ZEN or find out more about their work, visit ifaw.org and zimbabweelephantnursery.com