6 min read

Wild Elephant Brings Her New Baby To Meet The People Who Saved Her Life

It's been eight years, but she still remembers how they helped her ❤️

Like any other doting new mom, Yatta the elephant couldn’t wait to show off her newest baby to the people she cares for the most — her former caretakers at David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) in Kenya.

Yatta, an 18-year-old elephant who was released back to the wild over eight years ago, showed up at the sanctuary with her newborn calf in tow last month to introduce him to the people who took her in as an orphan in 1999.

From 1 month of age, Yatta was hand-reared by human caretakers and lived alongside other orphaned elephants at the sanctuary before eventually being integrated into a herd of adult ex-orphans living in the wild.

In a video of this special moment, the small calf, whom rescuers have named Yoyo, doesn’t stray too far from his mom — but he flaps his ears and waves his trunk around in excitement. Yatta also brought her firstborn daughter, Yetu, for the visit, who stands watch near her new little brother.

“She’s a proud momma,” caretakers said about Yatta. “And in a show of absolute trust and affection, she brought her newest baby back to meet the people who saved her.”

orphan elephant rescued calf
Yatta allows a caretaker to remove ticks from Yoyo's ears | David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

While it's quite common for ex-orphans to return with their newborn calves, every time they decide to visit "is amazing," Rob Brandford, of DSWT, told The Dodo. 

"We have not only saved an orphan baby and raised her, but she has successfully returned to the wild and started her own family," Brandford said. "For elephants, family is everything — so it's no surprise that they choose to share their new family member with their former human carers, for they are part of their family."

orphaned elephants rescue calf babies
Yatta's ex-orphan herd returning for a visit | David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Rescuers are calling Yatta a “miracle mum,” as she has now given birth to two healthy calves fathered by wild-born elephants.

“Imagine our delight when she chose to share her second birth with us, returning to her former stockades and her human family, so that we could be a part of celebrating the arrival of her new baby — a healthy little boy,” caretakers added in an update.

baby elephant calf rescue
Yatta's new calf, Yoyo | David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

The celebration wasn’t over, however — the caretakers soon noticed that two of Yatta’s adopted orphan “sisters” who live alongside her had also given birth to calves that same month, bringing DSWT’s total count of wild-born babies to 28.

New wild-born calves are a welcome sight for DSWT, which saves countless orphaned and injured elephants each year — many of whom are victims of poachers.

That was the case for Yatta, whose mother was killed for her tusks when she was only 1 month old. Men working nearby heard young Yatta’s cries, and they helped transport her into DSWT’s care.

orphaned elephant calf baby
Yoyo the calf walks alongside his mom, Yatta | David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

She is now one of more than 100 orphaned elephants returned to the wild by DSWT, which also has a field team that patrols wild habitats to keep the animals safe from poachers.

“We are delighted to witness the ex-orphan herds beginning to expand so naturally,” caretakers added. “There could be no greater gift for us, or testament to the success of the Orphans Project, than to share the joy of such perfectly healthy baby elephants like our three ‘October kids.’”

Watch a video of the three new calves below:

To support orphaned elephants being cared for by David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, you can make a donation.