At one point, it came right up to me and even appeared to be examining my camera closely, smelling and feeling the mysterious metal contraption. I couldn't help but laugh when it later went up to its pen-mate, the baby buffalo, and pushed it around a bit, as if to assert its intellectual and physical superiority. The baby buffalo stood there, unmoving, doe-eyed, utterly uninterested in this inter-species communication.
I photographed the little elephant many times during my stay there and by the time I left, I was completely charmed by him. On the last day before I left, I went to visit him for the final time to say goodbye. After I left, I turned around one more time to look at the building that housed the little elephant. I saw he had got up on his hind legs and was looking out the window directly at me. His expression was so strikingly human and profoundly expressive in that moment, I found myself feeling an intense connection. I made a few photos of him, struggling to leave. Later, when I saw this photo, I knew I would never see elephants in quite the same way again.
The baby elephant was eventually integrated into a herd of orphaned elephants who were then released back into the wilderness. The last I heard they had made a good transition.