The birth of a baby animal can be a truly beautiful thing. Beautiful in a metaphorical sense that is…It’s actually kind of ghastly to look at, but you know what I mean! The magic of an animals birth is multiplied by several hundred percent when it’s a species which is listed officially as “vulnerable”. While this is certainly a better status to hold than “endangered” and especially better than “extinct”, it still means that every youngling that is born of the species is another step away from that same brink of disappearance.
The African elephant is one such creature, and every birth is a miracle.
In this video, a herd of elephants prepare for a pregnant cow to give birth.
One thing that is often commented upon is the how elephants form tight communities of support for each other. They’re highly empathetic creatures and interact with each other in ways that often mimic human group dynamics. When this cow is preparing to give birth, the rest of the elephants, mostly female themselves, gather around.
An elephant birth is quite a momentous occasion.
An African elephant’s pregnancy lasts up to 22 months. That’s a huge amount of time, nearly two years to gestate the foetus. I don’t know about you, but if I was pregnant for nearly two years, I would be pretty ready to give birth already! It must take some time to grow such a big baby. Here we can see the baby beginning to crown as the amniotic sack is exposed.
Finally, baby arrives!
Well being human, I’m glad that we don’t start life by dropping several feet onto the ground! Baby is delivered successfully, but we have yet to see it move. It remains tightly wrapped in its amniotic sack, as the community of cows surround the newcomer to welcome it.
Slowly but surely, our little calf raises its head.
With admirable determination, the calf raises its head to see the world for the first time. Welcome little guy, look at all these friends you’ve got around you.
And our little calf rises, ready to greet the world.
He’s probably thinking, “what is this long thing on my face doing?” Might take a bit of time to practice using that thing!
All the cows dote on the new arrival.
Elephants are known for forming strong bonds and even mourn each other’s deaths the same way that humans do, even “crying”. These bonds begin at birth, and last their entire lives. For an animal that seems to be so impervious to damage, they gain safety in their community. They live long lives, about 60 to 70 years, surviving by the strength of their relationships with each other. When a new baby is born, it is born to the whole herd.
This is why conservation is so important.
As new elephant babies are brought into the world, we need to make efforts to keep conservation efforts strong. One commenter on the video says it really well:
“Absolutely precious I hope everyone that watches these videos realizes that these animals are on the endangered [now vulnerable] list and the more aware that we are of this the more awareness we can bring to this ongoing problem what do we really use Ivory for we don’t need it for anything except gaining wealth on the backs of these magnificent creatures”- Elizabeth Hodge
Watch the full video below to enjoy this miraculous moment of nature.
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