Orphaned baby elephant is raised by human mom
Photo: AP Seven-and-a-half month old orphaned elephant calf named Moses cuddles with his adoptive "mother" and foundation owner, Jenny Webb, at sunrise at their home in Lilongwe, Malawi. Moses was found alone and close
Mail.com: LILONGWE, Malawi (AP) — 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 little 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. "Elephants are extremely sensitive," said Webb. "It amazed me. We think of elephants as big, strong creatures but they are very emotional. Moses picks up on my feelings. If I am sad, he is nurturing. If I am angry, he quickly gets upset."
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. Webb gets advice from veterinarians and from the Elephant Orphanage Project in Zambia, which for 16 years has offered similar support to baby elephants.
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.
Moses had to have a hernia operation not long after being taken in by Webb because his umbilical cord was damaged when he was born. He stopped eating because of the stress of the surgery and anesthetic and lost weight, but after force feedings the young elephant returned to a healthy weight, Webb said.
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.
Like many toddlers, Moses likes to go outside and Webb takes him on daily walks with the family dogs. "The dogs are like his herd," she said. "He socializes with them in the day and likes going for walks with them. He quickly established dominance with them. But at night, he herds the dogs outside. He doesn’t like to sleep with the dogs. He likes to sleep with the cats, and me."
As soon as the sun goes down, Moses lies next to Webb on the makeshift bed. In a few weeks, Moses is expected to start eating hay, grass, bark and horse feed along with his formula. He has started putting grass and leaves in his mouth but he is not yet eating them. By the time he is four he will stop having formula and will be eating vegetation. And when he is five, Webb plans to reintroduce Moses to life in the wild, possibly in the national park where he was found.
In the meantime Webb plans to raise funds to build a boma, an African-style corral, where Moses can live when he becomes too big for the house. "By the time he is two years old, he will no longer be able to fit through the door and he will have to live outside," said Webb.
Webb wants to make Moses "an ambassador for elephants" to educate people against wildlife poaching. Raising Moses has been challenging, said Webb, "but it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I have raised children, and this is very similar, but you can’t put an elephant in a pram (stroller)."
Webb said that raising Moses gave her the idea to start an orphanage for other animals. "When we got Moses we found there is a desperate need for an orphanage for large animals. Elephants, hippos, buffalo, rhinos … there is no place for those babies to go if their parents are killed," she said. "There are some places in Zambia and Kenya, but no place here in Malawi, so that is what I am working for."
October 17, 2012 - Posted by justonemorepet | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rescues, animals, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Pet Adoption, We Are All God's Creatures, Wild Animals | Animal Adoption, baby elephant, elephants, Malawi
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Save a Life…Adopt Just One More…Pet!
Everyday we read or hear another story about pets and other animals being abandoned in record numbers while at the same time we regularly hear about crazy new rules and laws being passed limiting the amount of pets that people may have, even down to one or two… or worse yet, none.
Nobody is promoting hoarding pets or animals, but at a time when there are more pets and animals of all types being abandoned or being taken to shelters already bursting at the seams, there is nothing crazier than legislating away the ability of willing adoptive families to take in just one more pet!!
Our goal is to raise awareness and help find homes for all pets and animals that need one by helping to match them with loving families and positive situations. Our goal is also to help fight the trend of unfavorable legislation and rules in an attempt to stop unnecessary Euthenization!!
“All over the world, major universities are researching the therapeutic value of pets in our society and the number of hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and mental institutions which are employing full-time pet therapists and animals is increasing daily.” ~ Betty White, American Actress, Animal Activist, and Author of Pet Love
So if you have the room in your home and the love in your heart… Adopt Just One More Pet or consider becoming a Foster parent for pets… Also check out: Little Critter: Just One More Pet
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There is always room for Just One More Pet. So if you have room in your home and room in your heart… Adopt Just One More! If you live in an area that promotes unreasonable limitations on pets… fight the good fight and help change the rules and legislation…
Save the Life of Just One More…Animal!
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As I have been fighting Cancer… A battle I am gratefully winning, my furkids have not left my side. They have been a large part of my recovery!! Ask Marion
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If you can adopt or foster just one more pet, you could be saving a life, while adding joy to your own! Our shelters are over-flowing… Please join the fight to make them all ‘NO-Kill’ facilities.
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If You Were Stranded On An Island…A recent national survey revealed just how much Americans love their companion animals. When respondents were asked whether they’d like to spend life stranded on a deserted island with either their spouse or their pet, over 60% said they would prefer their dog or cat for companionship!
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