What does an orphaned baby elephant and a rescued baby giraffe have in common? Well, nothing and yet everything, as the two have been inseparable since they were housed next to each other as stable mates at an orphanage providing care for the two calves.
It hasn’t been long since Loboito came into this world and already he shares a unique connection with an orphaned one-month old baby giraffe named Kiko. At just three weeks old the “boisterous” elephant calf is never far away from his newfound friend.
Kiko was barely a week old and a decidedly milk-dependent calf, when he was found “alone and hungry in Samburu” by the Kenya Wildlife Service. Without delay the baby giraffe was transferred by air to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust sanctuary in Nairobi, Kenya, Africa and given nourishment and medical attention. (Unfortunately, Kiko’s family, a subspecies of giraffe known as the “reticulated giraffe” are also vulnerable to poachers. Their numbers have dwindled to approximately 7,700 in the wild today.)
As his keepers at the DSWT soon discovered, reported Becky Pemberton for The Daily Mail, Kiko was too tiny to be housed in the giraffe stables. So, it was decided for him to move to the part of the nursery that houses the orphaned elephant calves.
And who should appoint himself head of the welcoming committee? None other than Loboito, the three-week old baby elephant who not only slept in the adjoining stable but who almost instantly became “adorably” attached to his newfound “leggy friend”. Kiko, who is very even-tempered is hardly bothered by the “overexcited” and “loveable babies” that surround him.
Inasmuch as Loboito shadows Kiko endlessly throughout the day, the two always include the other elephant orphans in playtimes and meals, each of them colorfully wrapped in blankets to help them keep warm. As one baby suckles a bottle, another eagerly awaits their turn, relishing in the attention from their keepers . (As “substitutes for the orphans’ families” whom they accompany 24 hours a day, the importance of the keepers is not to be forgotten.)
Well, someday soon little Kiko will grow tall (he is now sprouting so fast that a ladder will be needed to give him his bottle) and strong enough to be released back into the wild (orphaned elephants need close to ten years of sanctuary care). But for now the bouncy little elephant and his spotted companion are just enjoying their moments together, reveling in the comforts of the sanctuary and knowing that without the kindness of these humans it is certain that neither one of them would have even survived.
See: Video of Kiko and Loboito at The Daily Mail
Photos credit:The Daily Mail (DSWT/Barcroft Media)