At the Djuma Private Game Reserve in South Africa’s Kruger National Park a precious gift arrived on 12 October 2016 in the form of a tiny newborn elephant calf. Although the actual birth was not caught on camera safari guides Brent and Jamie were able to witness the miracle just hours after it happened.
Watch as a baby elephant discovers his new world, surrounded protectively by his mom, his ‘Aunt’ Fang (whose unusual backward-facing tusks have given her her name)and other members of his elephant herd. Watch as the baby elephant takes a tumble and is cradled by his Aunt Fang & his mama. See how the hours-old calf is set back on his path the instant he falls. For in the elephant world there is nothing more that matters than the family bond.
The following is from a video by WildEarth SafariLIVE as seen on YouTube here and was transcribed for the benefit of saving elephants. Full copyright remains with the Djuma Private Game Reserve in the Kruger National Park, South Africa.
The Daily Mail presented a 56 second clip of the newborn baby elephant’s ‘tumble‘ along with photographs of the hours-old tiny calf and his elephant family.
Intro: Safari guide Brent at the Djuma Private Game Reserve in South Africa’s Kruger National Park discovers an area where an elephant has just given birth. The date was 12 October 2016.
“… this is a large piece of blood, bloody stuff that has been covered up by elephants I mean, there is (sic) no predator tracks here whatsoever. There is (sic) elephant tracks everywhere. Now, sometimes when elephants give birth the herd will actually huddle around them and I think that what we are looking at here is not something we see every day. This is elephant afterbirth. Wow. Isn’t that absolutely amazing?”
“Let’s have a look at which way the elephants went and maybe we can go look for a tiny newborn baby elephant. I can hear them..looks like the tracks have gone that way. (Guide Brent gets back into his jeep and starts driving off away from the area) “Let’s see if we can find the latest addition to the Djuma elephant family.”
Safari Guide Jamie Paterson:
“…I’m sure that this female with her new baby is somewhere here. This place is positively teeming with elephants.
(There is a )”question concerning if the ‘whole elephant herd will stay put protecting that little elephant’ until the newborn calf is ‘ready to move off’ and ‘the answer is yes, absolutely they will stay until the calf is back on its feet and starts to wobble off. And they will comfort the mother, they will be around the mother and just in general be very, very supportive of the entire situation.”
…”With that being said if there is something wrong with the baby; let’s say the mother didn’t get enough nutrients and the baby is very, very weak when it’s born, if it’s not going to survive at some point the herd will leave it behind. And generally it takes new mothers a little bit longer to come to that realization that their baby is not going to survive and they will stay with their baby for a few days in the most heartbreaking situation, at which point afterwards they are still in their state of misery and mourning; got to go off and find the rest of their herd. Fortunately that is something that I have never ever had to witness. I think it must be heartbreaking to see.”
“Here is beautiful Fang giving us a demonstration kind of, mind you, a shy demonstration of the way that she uses her backwards-facing tusk. Interesting enough it seems like it is her dominant tusk. She seems to use it more often despite the fact that it is completely upside down.”
Question: …Could a backwards facing tusk on a mother hurt a baby? Answer: ” No, these females have such incredible spatial awareness. They are so, so aware of what is going on around them and to the other females”….
(Jamie spots the newborn elephant calf for the first time)…”no, is that it? It’s there! There it is behind the mother. Is that it; could it be? …Look, it’s still fuzzy! There it is…look at its wobbly legs…I don’t believe it. I can’t believe we’ve actually seen it. Hi baby, welcome to the world.”
… “Oopsy. (the baby elephant stumbles) It’s okay, Mom. It’s okay. You’ve got Fang there. I promise I’m not a danger. …Oh, careful, careful, careful. Oh, no! Oh,it’s okay little one ( At this time the baby elephant takes a ‘tumble’ down a small embankment as her mom and Auntie Fang rush to pick her up)
(Guide Jamie to Jeandre in their Jeep nearby as they observe the herd of elephants and the newborn calf) : “It’s very, very important that we keep our movements nice and slow; no loud noises.” …(rumbles from the elephant mother, protecting her baby)
…”Look at Fang checking to see that it’s okay. Now you see, you see the bonds. Listen to her talking to Fang (the elephant with the backwards facing tusk), checking to see that it’s okay. It could be her sister’s daughter or even her daughter’s daughter. Oh, gorgeous. I’ve really got goose bumps. Actually, if I’m completely honest I’ve got tears in my eyes.”
“It’s okay. This little baby’s absolutely fine. They take tumbles. It’s what happens out here. Little uncoordinated legs…See what I mean elephants are very on edge. Little baby stopping to drink (newborn calf nursing). Mom’s just given birth. This is unbelievable…. This is where trust and our body language are so important as well. We need to communicate to her that we are not a threat at all.” (elephants continue to rumble)
…”Massive female, absolutely huge so this will not be her first calf….(Jamie tells Jeandre, in the jeep with her ..”very slow movements as she comes past, when she comes past”.)
“I think we’ve got the full trust of the herd. Look at mom moving the sticks out of the way for her baby. Isn’t that incredible? She’s already seen it fall once. She doesn’t want it to happen again. This is such a tricky spot for the little one”. …
“I can’t believe how fluffy it is. This is absolute magic, We are so lucky. So, so lucky. (the elephant herd and newborn calf slowly passes by directly in front of Jamie parked in her jeep)….Oh, mom you are an incredible creature. Look at what you created. Oh, it’s so beautiful. It’s a little girl. Look how she’s reaching back and touching her baby…. See how Fang is taking that role again, next to it, protecting it. That little bull elephant is going to get pushed (away) I think. Yeah, pushed away. They’re curious.”
To be continued: Caught on Video: Witness a Newborn Baby Elephant, Only a Few Hours Old, With His Elephant Herd & See How Fang the Elephant, Named For Her Backward-Facing Tusk, Protectively Picks Him Up After Calf Tumbles Down Slope : Part 2
Images: Newborn Baby Elephant (featured) & ..Newborn Calf Slipping Down Slope : SafariLIVE / Barcroft from The Daily Mail Online
Watch video from the aforementioned transcribed text here.
“SafariLIVE: Adorable New Born Male Elephant , only a couple hours old Amazing Oct 12, 2016” same video as above only this video starts with baby elephant tumble and edited (Safari Guide Brent discovering the elephant afterbirth is edited out)
See Daily Mail Online “What a Dumbo! Adorable Newborn Elephant Takes a Tumble Down a Hill As He Tries to Keep Up With His Herd – Who Rush to Help Him Back to His Feet” for more photos and video.
Learn more about Safari guide Jamie Paterson here
See Djuma Private Game Reserve “Live Web Cam / Djuma Waterhole” here