These heartwarming photographs illustrate the incredible connection between a group of elephant keepers and the animals they care for.
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya has posted a photo series of its human caregivers caring for an orphaned elephant herd as they explore their surroundings.
Keepers recreate the elephant family structure that was lost when they were orphaned, which is critical for them to grow up until they can rejoin the wild herds.
“It will be many years before these orphans are able to care for themselves, as they are still babies requiring their milk, guidance, teaching, and mentorship before they can ‘fly the nest,'” according to Executive Director of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Rob Brandford.
Meanwhile, they are situated in a lovely location where their days may be filled with significant interactions with wild herds.
Another photo in the sequence depicts Mapia, an orphaned calf, enjoying a sweet moment with another one.
“Elephants are highly tactile,” says Rob. “They make physical contact to convey and bond with one another, and you’ll see them “chatting” by intentionally rubbing each other with their trunk, tusks, tail,, and even entire body.”