baby elephant

A mother is a shelter


Serengeti, Tanzania, Africa After spending time at an elephant orphanage I’ve truly come to understand how important a mother and a family is for an elephants survival. This baby elephant who has not yet mastered the art of applying his own mud and dirt sunscreen is highly reliant on the shade of the mother in the harsh african sun. It never occurred that the mother provides so much protection just by standing there, just by existing. Of course this baby is also reliant on her wisdom, affection and milk. Should a young elephant become separated from it’s family, despite being taken in by people and being well fed, history has shown that pure grief over the loss can kill an elephant. Clearly this baby has her mother, she was so happy she could barely contain it as she ran around and swung her trunk all over the Serengeti.

Photographic Details: I wanted a photograph that visually expressed how large and important a mother can be to her calf. While the focus is on the baby elephant jovially swinging her trunk around, I wanted a background dominated by the body and textures of the mother towering over her, the same way a home would. Reminiscent of a classical portrait of a person with their home situated in the background if you will.

Canon EOS 7D 1/200s f/7.1 ISO400 400mm For #feelgoodfriday curated by +Rebecca Borg

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Elephant Sunburn


Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Animal Orphanage, Nairobi, Kenya, Africa This photo just taken hours ago is of a baby Elephant who lost his mother. Elephants are prone to sunburn too, and as a result the caretaker follows this little guy around with an umbrella on top of the sunscreen applied to him. In the wild elephants use mud to help prevent sunburn, but the young ones haven't learned how to properly slather on some wild mud sunblock yet. In addition a baby elephant is used to being in the shadow of his mother, being orphaned a caretaker with an umbrella is the next best thing to the sun protection his mother can provide.

To watch this little pachyderm bumble around while his caretaker hastily chases after him with an umbrella is hilarious, but entirely necessary to emulate the loving family environment that an elephant needs to survive. Without love and attention the elephants will to live wains eventually leading to death. It's this formula of creating a family of caretakers that created the first successful rearing of an orphaned african elephant, a program that has rescued over a hundred elephants from the loss of their families due to poaching.

For more on the animal orphanage see