In much the same way that Linus Van Pelt , in the classic comic strip Peanuts by the late Charles Schulz, felt about his famous blue security blanket so do these sweet baby elephants of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust feel about their “little coats”.
Not long after their arrival at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust elephant nursery in Nairobi, Kenya each orphaned calf is covered with a colorful elephant-sized blanket which with a sash is assuredly held in place upon their little elephant backs.
Now, while a baby elephant sporting such a stylish covering might be an endearing sight may it also serve as a harsh reminder that these little elephants won’t ever be going back to their own mothers or own elephant herd. Instead, in order for them to survive, they will be cared for and doted upon by kind humans at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust; unlike the cold-blooded humans who took away one wild elephant’s life.
After their rescue, these fragile elephant orphans (some as a result of poaching, some from deforestation, and some from the effects of nature or a drought) are quite susceptible to pneumonia without the natural protection they would receive from their “attentive elephant herd”. “In the shadow of their mother” they are shielded from the “harsh rays of the sun during the day” and the cold temperatures that come in the night. Under the canopy of their mother’s belly the forces of nature that bring the wind and rain are unable to harm the elephant baby.
But raised apart from their elephant family comfort and warmth must be provided in a different and unique way. As wildlife photographer James Suter has observed (reported by Harriet Mallison for The Daily Mail : MailOnline) for orphaned baby elephants “these multi-coloured coats” soon become “their secret weapon for survival”. For wrapped securely in their blankets they are not only able to stave off illness they are also reminded of their mama’s cuddles. They are learning to find their way in a new life.
And just as Linus Van Pelt wanted never to part with his security blanket these little elephants become quite attached to their brilliant “blankies” too. For Linus his blanket was transformed into a multitude of things: dance partner; bull whip, in times of trouble; a friend to shadow him; and comforter, when he was by himself, often sitting & sucking his thumb. ( Linus even cherished the very first “security blanket”.)
But some day when they begin their passage back into the wild each little elephant will relinquish the colorful coverings that they cherish. And “just as a human child” they have fussed over, “sucked and played with” their own security blankets time and again. But until then, like Linus, each baby elephant will relish their “blankey” and all of the comforts it has come to represent.
See “Orphaned Baby Elephants are Wrapped Up in Survival Blankets to Protect Them From the Cold” at The Daily Mail Online here
See wiki Linus Van Pelt
See wiki Linus’ Security Blanket
See wiki Peanuts by Charles Schulz
Images: CC Flickr : Featured Baby Elephant Pink Blanket DSWT, Baby Elephant with DSWT Keeper , Baby Elephant Wearing “Blankey” , Baby Elephant Grey Striped Blanket DSWT , Happiness is a Warm Blanket , Baby Elephants in Stable DSWT Wrapped in Blankets