Not all animals are maternal, as proven by a female elephant that immediately tried to trample her baby to death after giving birth August 30th at the Shendiaoshan Wild Animal Natural Reserve Area, in Rongcheng, Shandong province, China.
In fact, zookeepers, who were able to rescue the male calf reported that continued to weep inconsolably for five hours before he could be comforted after his mother's incredibly violent rejection.
“The calf was very upset and he was crying for five hours before he could be consoled’, a zoo spokesman said. “He couldn’t bear to be parted from his mother and it was his mother who was trying to kill him. They have made a good bond. We don’t know why the mother turned on her calf but we couldn’t take a chance.”
Studies have proven that that elephants experience feel the same complex emotions that humans do, including a degree of self-awareness rarely seen in the animal world, and the tendency to mourn their dead. In fact, elephants have been seen pausing to feel the bones of dead elephants carefully with their trunks when encountering then in the wild.
The baby elephant has since bonded with his keepers who are now raising him, and seems to be growing up healthy according to zoo officials.
Note: Although elephant calves are usually the center of attention within wild herds, researchers note that elephants living in captivity have been shown to commit infanticide at a much high rates, possibly due to the stress of their conditions.