Elephants are regal animals known for their large ears and long trunks. They are the world’s largest land animals, with male African elephants weighing as much as six tons.
Unfortunately, African elephants populations are dwindling, causing them to be classified as a vulnerable species.
Certain populations of African elephants are almost extinct due to hunting and poaching. Thousands of elephants are killed each year for their ivory, which are then carved into jewelry and ornaments.
Fortunately, there are movements in Africa that aim to help and protect elephants.
The Reteti Elephant Sanctuary is Africa’s first community-owned elephant sanctuary in Northern Kenya.
It is located in the Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy, about an eight-hour drive from the capital Nairobi.
The sanctuary adopts and cares for abandoned and orphaned elephant calves with the goal of releasing them back into the wild.
The elephant keepers at Reteti are all from the indigenous Samburu community. While they have been living alongside elephants for generations, they also receive formal training in the care, rehabilitation, and release of elephant calves.
The sanctuary rescues about 10 to 25 elephant calves a year. These baby elephants have been abandoned due to human-wildlife conflict, drought, or man-made wells.
Rimland Lemajong is one of the Reteti keepers who care for these abandoned elephants.
In this special video, Lemajong returned to the sanctuary after being gone for a week on a business trip.
A baby elephant can be seen staying close to him and using its trunk to hug Lemajong. The calf is rubbing his face against the keeper’s body.
The elephant’s trunk caresses Lemajong’s face and hugs his neck.
You can tell that the elephant is happy to see Lemajong.
Elephants grumble when they’re reassuring, greeting, or soothing each other.The elephant can be heard making a low grumbling sound. This sound can be compared to a cat purring.
In this case, the elephant is grumbling happily to greet his keeper.
Watching the keeper and the elephant interact together is a beautiful sight. It’s obvious that Lemajong truly cares for the elephant, and the feeling is mutual.
It’s no wonder that this video has been viewed over one million times already.
The warmth of the feelings of the elephant and Lemjong shine through.
One comment said, “These keepers are so tender and caring towards the elephants-makes you feel quite humble.”
Another said, “I love that grumbling sound. Thank you Rimland for taking such good care of the babies.”
The bond between Lemajong and the elephant is remarkable.
The Reteti Elephant Sanctuary is truly a special place that gives elephants a second chance at living independently in the wild.
If you would like to visit this amazing place, you can! The sanctuary encourages people to visit. Visitors help strengthen the community and emphasize the importance of the elephant as an income-generating asset of the area.
This further encourages other community members to value the elephant, and it helps strengthen their resolve in protecting these wonderful animals poachers and hunters.
Watch the video below to see the touching relationship between a baby elephant and his keeper at the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary!
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