Elephants are revered in many parts of the world. In Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, they are honored by all other animals as the creators of the jungle.
In some countries, they are honored as gods.
But in many places in the modern world, the perception is much different for these majestic creatures. While still revered in some places, in many others, elephants have been hunted for their tusks.
And they are not alone. Other animals, such as rhinos also face the wrath of poachers who care more about their own pocketbooks than the survival of these species.
This is a story of one young elephant who got a second chance at life with the help of a surprising companion.
Ubuntu was found alone in the wilderness. He was hungry, afraid and in desperate need of medical attention.
Unlike so many other baby elephants, he was not a victim of poachers. He was alone for an entirely different reason. He had been abandoned by his herd.
Elephants are herd animals. They raise their young together. They rely on the community of elephants within the herd to help raise each individual calf.
Elephants will discipline, protect and teach each other’s young within their herd. But for some unknown reason, Ubuntu’s herd had abandoned him and left him completely alone to fend for himself.
Rescuers tried repeatedly to reunite Ubuntu with his herd, but they rejected him time and time again. So, the rescuers had no choice but to take him to a refuge center.
The only one nearby with the ability to help him was created to help baby rhinos who had been orphaned by poachers.
Without the social network of the herd and the love, care and training provided by a herd, Ubuntu faced an ominous future.
Ubuntu was in dire need. He suffered from a serious medical condition that could easily take his life. On top of that, he was allergic to every form of milk that the staff at the rhino orphanage had.
They even tried some from other nearby countries to no avail.
Finally, the dietitian at the refuge had to create their own, specialized food created just for Ubuntu complete with all the nutrients a growing elephant needs to survive.
The new diet was a success, and Ubuntu began to gain weight.
But the fight for Ubuntu’s life was not yet over. Without a companion, he was depressed. His health was improving but his mental state was declining almost daily.
He was surviving, but he was not living, at least not yet. As a social herd animal, Ubuntu had no chance of survival without a herd of his own.
But with the rejection of his own herd and his still tenuous health, there were no elephant herds for him to join.
Staff at the rhino rescue had a rather unusual idea. They introduced Ubuntu to a former service dog, a German Shepherd named Duma.
They met at a sand pit. The two bonded from the start.
Almost overnight, Ubuntu developed an interest in living again. He began to eat and play. And Duma fell right back into his old protective training again.
In fact, Duma became so protective of Ubuntu that the staff had difficulty separating the two when it was time to eat, be checked out by a vet or even to sleep at night.
Duma began to care for Ubuntu night and day just as he did when he was a service dog. He wanted to constantly watch over Ubuntu and make sure that he was okay.
Without a herd of his own, Ubuntu happily adopted Duma into his own family. Ubuntu was abandoned, and then found a family of his own. He was content with his small, yet rather unusual family.
Through the power of their amazing friendship and companionship, Ubuntu survives to this day, and Duma has a new purpose for his life as well.
In time, Ubuntu will still need to become a member of an elephant herd. He will one day be introduced into an existing herd if they will accept him.
If not, then Ubuntu will likely become a member of an artificially created herd comprised of orphaned elephants all in need of love and companionship.
Watch the video below to see Ubuntu and Duma for yourself. See Ubuntu being cared for by those who love him at the shelter as well as by his best canine friend.
This is a story of hope, a story of friendship, a story of conservation and a story of second chances. Without the love and support of those who rescued Ubuntu, those who serve at the shelter and Duma’s devotion to his friend, Ubuntu would surely have perished.
Instead, he is finally living a happy, healthy life.
Source: All Cute All The Time