It’s a tale we’ve heard one too many times in recent years, an elephant is struck down by poachers, leaving behind young that must struggle to survive. But what starts as a sad tale about an elephant losing her mother takes a bright turn, as Wendi the elephant begins her own journey of motherhood.
When Wendi, whose name means ‘Hope’ in the Meru dialect, was first discovered back in 2002, she was found lying next to a watering hole deep in the isolated Imenti Forest, a place where many elephants who are cut off from their migratory routes are found. Wendi’s mother had been killed by poachers, resulting in the poor young elephant not being able to receive the colostrum, her mother’s first milk, that she needed to kick-start her immune system.
Her rescuers from The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) managed to bring her back to health, and Wendi was released back into the wild, living with a herd in Kenya’s Tsavo National Park. But this story of Hope doesn’t end there.
Showing compassion for her rescuers, Wendi frequently visited the caretakers at DSWT: ‘She fondly remembers the tender loving care she received from a host of Human Carers,’ said a spokesperson for the Trust. ‘She seeks them out and is always gentle and loving towards them.’ But on this particular visit, Wendi returned to the Trust with a little surprise in tow—a newborn baby elephant of her own.
As the newborn was only hours old, the video footage captures some of the earliest moments in the young elephant’s life, from testing her trunk to flapping her ears. You can even spot one of the keepers gently giving her a push as she learns how to walk.
At the time that the footage was taken, Wendi’s child didn’t even have a name. But DSWT recently announced the baby elephant’s new name, Wiva, on their Facebook. According to the Trust’s post, she was named after ‘the Weaver birds who, every year, upon the onset of the rains, return to our Ithumba stockades to build their nests in the acacia trees and had busily begun nesting on the very same day that Wiva was born.’
Congratulations to Wendi on becoming a mother, and welcome to the world, young Wiva.