The feeling of rejection by the person you most hope to love, your parents, is the most painful, especially if you love them unconditionally. This happened to a newborn elephant who cried for hours. He couldn’t 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’s mother didn’t just reject him. She crushed him too. That caused his injuries. This is highly unusual, as mother elephants often accompany their calves until they are able to fend for themselves.
At first, the caregivers thought it was a misunderstanding between the mother and the baby. They treated the baby elephant’s injuries and returned him to his mother. But the danger was great and the mother elephant attacked her calf 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 hatchling from further physical harm, the emotional damage had already been done.
The caretakers 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. One 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, Ph.D. in zoology and ecology, further explained the reason for this unusual phenomenon: “In a herd of free-ranging elephants, all the members of the herd grow up to care for all their pups”. . With the support of their families, who are always there for them, they really learn to be parents.”
The experts add other interesting facts about the behavior of mother elephants: Elephants give birth together with relatives and often choose familiar caregivers to raise the young, but this usually only happens with elephants in the wild. Captive life outside traditional family groups can affect the protective maternal instinct of animals towards their young. Such was the case with Zhuang-Zhuang, aggravated by the fact that she was the first calf born.
,, If a woman is a 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, her loved ones help her give birth, which reduces pain and helps her give birth slowly.” The experts say. Right, she’s not a bad mother.
Elephants affected by giving birth and living in captivity are difficult to treat, especially without the help of their loved ones. Fortunately, one of the zookeepers had a special relationship with Zhuang and managed to calm her down.