Orphaned elephants need friends

Losing a mother can be one of the most difficult circumstances What a child, whether human or animal, goes through in his life. Elephants in particular have complex social relationships and close bonds with family members, as youngsters do not leave their mother’s vicinity until they are about 9 years old.

Many studies and research have been conducted Previously on rats, birds and guinea pigs, this research has proven that the close relationship between the mother and her young prevents him from stress. Given these outputs along with figures indicating that more orphaned elephants have died in Kenya than their mothers are still alive, scientists believe that the stress hormone in orphaned elephants will undoubtedly be very high. To their surprise, they found, after conducting the study on elephants, that their belief was wrong, as it was found that orphaned elephants enjoyed a normal level of tension, compared to the ones living in the custody of their mother, as long as they lived with peers of the same age.

Measuring stress through dung
This study started in 2015 As part of an attempt to understand the impact and consequences of overfishing in the Samburu National Reserve in Kenya. Scientists wanted to track spillovers: How does maternal hunting affect the safety of orphaned grouse? Over the year since the study began, scientists have collected the dung of 37 baby elephants, including 25 orphans, and the dung samples were analyzed for traces of the stress hormone. The result was shocking to scientists, who believed that an orphan baboon would undoubtedly be more stressed than one living with his mother, but the results indicated that the difference between them is almost zero. Living with friends her own age, an orphan jungle seems to help her overcome the loss of her mothers and the trauma of those difficult experiences.

  • The Reteti Elephant Sanctuary is located within an area called the Namunyak Wildlife Conservation Foundation, which extends over an area of ​​394,000 hectares of thorn bush in northern Kenya. Video: Ami Vitale

Orphan Elephant Success Guarantee
The results of this study are invaluable For environmental nonprofits like Retiti Elephant Sanctuary, which rescue and nurture orphaned elephants whose mothers have been poached, killed by drought, or other catastrophic conditions — and rehabilitate them for release back into the wild. According to this study, the success of the elephant and its survival rate in the wild will be greater if it is released with a group of its peers, even if it is confronted by stressful factors such as drought or a wave of poaching. Despite the factors of climate change causing more droughts, and the increasing clash between humans and wildlife, this study proves that the elephant, despite the most difficult conditions, thrives when it is with a group.