A video of an orphaned baby elephant returning to her caretaker after she was rejected by her herd is melting hearts online.
The elephant, named Chabakeaw, was found and rescued by wildlife officers on April 4. She was alone and trapped in mud in Bueng Kan, Thailand, according to Daily Mail.
Wildlife rescuers cared for and nutured Chabakeaw for five months before the department decided to release the young animal back to her herd on Sept. 18. However, two days later, officers discovered the baby elephant abandoned around a mile away where she had been released.
On Friday, wildlife officers caught the moment when the baby elephant slowly approached her caretaker and adorably curled up on his lap for a nap.
Chabakeaw is now having difficulty blending into the herd since she was abandoned as a baby and was raised by humans, Pichet Noonto, an elephant specialist form the IUCN Species Survival Commission, explains.
“We believe that she was not accepted by the herd leader which is a consequence of her being raised by humans for over five months,” he said. “She would have had difficulty adapting to the elephant behavior in the wild and been kicked away.”
Wildlife officers will have to take care of Chabakeaw and unfortunately, cannot introduce her back to her natural habitat for now.
“We will take care of her while we plan her future, but sending her back to the herd again might not be one of the options,” he added.
Featured image screenshot via YouTube / Viral Press