The sad baby elephant refused to leave his dead mother even though there were lions and hyenas in front of him. The whole herd gathered to emotionally comfort him.

The sad baby elephant refused to leave his dead mother even though there were lions and hyenas in front of him. The whole herd gathered to emotionally comfort him.

This is the heart-wrenching moment that a baby elephant stands by her dead mother’s side trying to wake her up.

The desperate calf nudges her mother with her trunk in an attempt to elicit a response.

Eventually she accepts that her mother has died, but refuses to leave her side, keeping watch over the body for hours in the long grass of Kenya’s Masai Mara.

Desperate: This is the heart-wrenching moment that a baby elephant stands by her mother’s side, mourning her tragic loss

Other members of the herd gather around her to pay their respects in an emotional gathering.

It is thought the elephant slowed down and collapsed at the back of herd – the reason for her death is unclear.

Marks on her body are thought to be lions attempting to maul the body before the herd retraced their steps to find the missing elephant – they can be seen loitering in the grasses.

Wildlife Photographer Sarah Skinner captured the elephants saying their final farewells late last year.

Sarah, 38, said:  ‘It is always sad to hear another gracious giant has passed.

‘I had a lump in my throat as I watched on. We were all in complete shock over the incredible behaviour that we were witnessing.

Mourning: The elephants gather in a mourning circle as they take in the loss of the elder elephant

Farewell: The elephant lifts her trunk as she is forced to say her final goodbye to her mother

Realisation: The dead elephant can be seen on its side as the herd encircle the body

Leaving: Even as the other elephants move away the baby prolongs its final moment with its mother

‘It was an incredibly moving and emotionally charged moment.

‘The young elephant simply refused to move from her mother’s side, occasionally feeling her body with her trunk.

‘It became apparent that this elephant was really affected by her mother’s death.’

As the elephants that had congregated moved closer, some again touched her body with their trunks, while others just stood in silence and mourned their loss.

Heartbroken: The elephant reluctantly leaves its mother behind after the attack as the herd move away

Gazing with a curiosity and apparent sadness, the herd gently prod and circle their fallen leader.

Following the solemn procession, the herd moves off, leaving the baby to grieve alone by her mother’s side.

She sits with her mother as the day draws to a close, continuing to affectionately nudge her trunk.

Even when there is an unwelcome arrival from a number of lions and hyenas, the elephant stands ground over her mother to guard her corpse long into the night.

Sarah, from Berkshire, added: ‘It was an emotional scene that I will quite frankly never forget.’

 

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