A baby elephant cries out after a case of attempted animal infanticide, reports the Huffington Post on Sept. 13. Horrified zookeepers were forced to intervene after an elephant’s violent mother rejected her baby and tried to stomp on him, causing the young calf to sob uncontrollably for hours on end.
Shortly after the mother elephant birthed her calf in August at the Shendiaoshan Wild Animal Nature Reserve in Rongcheng, China, she stomped on him. Zookeepers rescued the elephant and treated him, thinking it was just an accident.
However, after reuniting the calf to his mother, she stepped on him again, forcing zookeepers to permanently separate the two and leading to a five-hour weep.
“The calf was very upset and he was crying for five hours before he could be consoled,” a zoo employee said. “He couldn’t bear to be parted from his mother and it was his mother who was trying to kill him.”
Big elephant tears rolled down the calf’s cheek – a heartbreaking emotional response rarely seen in elephants. Officials believe overcrowding and captivity may have caused the mother elephant to react in a way opposite of its instincts.
There is a happy ending for this calf however, who has been named Zhuang Zhuang. He was adopted by one of the zoo’s keepers and will be raised at a wild animal reserve in China.