ELEPHANT MOM

Lots of mothers wake in the middle of the night to feed their babies, but not many get up to give a bottle to an infant elephant. Jenny Webb adopted a baby boy elephant who was just a few weeks old in February. The orphaned elephant calf was named Moses after being found in the grasses of a riverbed by game rangers at Vwazi Wildlife Reserve in northern Malawi. Rangers tried to find his family¬†herd for two days without success, said the 48-year-old Webb, adding that the calf’s mother was likely killed by elephant poachers. The illegal killing of elephants is rife in Africa with conservation groups saying that tens of thousands of elephants are being killed each year for their ivory tusks. Malawi’s national parks did not have the funds to raise the young elephant, so Webb, the founder of the Jumbo Foundation an orphanage for large animals, took on the job of caring for the little pachyderm. Moses weighs 100 kilograms (220 pounds) and each day he drinks 24 liters (6.3 gallons) of an infant formula that is boosted with coconut milk and 14 other ingredients.

Webb has placed a mattress on the dining room floor where she and Moses curl up for the night. Moses gets up about every two hours and shuffles around the room until Webb wakes and gives him his bottle feed. In the mornings, as Webb has a coffee and watches television, Moses throws his trunk over her shoulder and nuzzles his head against her. In the wild, a baby elephant would shelter underneath his mother to be shielded from the sun and remain warm and safe. To emulate this, Webb puts a blanket over Moses. His still tender hide is also protected with sunscreen and moisturizer.   Caring for the baby elephant is a 24-hour job. Webb gets help from two employees, Matimat Julius and Jim Tembo. All three take turns playing with Moses and using their arms to sweep the dust, the way a mother elephant would do with her trunk.

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One Response to ELEPHANT MOM

  1. Aleene Sexton Queen says:

    Wonderful story about my favorite wild animal .. thank you!

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