Keeping up with the herd is an integral part of survival for baby elephants. However, after being shot in the leg, one African elephant calf was struggling to keep up.
Without the herd, he was a perfect target for lions or crocodiles, and if he didn’t get attacked, he’d likely die from the bullet wounds in both of his hind legs and feet. Thankfully, a pilot on anti-poaching patrol spotted the helpless baby in the Tsavo East National Park and called in a sky vet from the Kenya Wildlife Service.
The baby, who rescuers later named Luggard, had been shot with an AK-47 and the bullets had shattered his femur in his right hind leg, and another in his left hind foot. While the baby was in bad shape, the team was just relieved his front legs were fine.
“Had [the bullets] shattered his front leg, the outcome could have been very different, as the front legs are much more essential for mobility bearing more of the elephant’s body weight,” said Angela Sheldrick, CEO of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Luggard was then transported to Sheldrick’s orphanage, treated immediately, and began his long road to recovery.
Luggard was determined to walk again, and after nine months, he was already back on his feet. “As his body healed, Luggard adjusted the amount of weight on his leg, and he became very efficient on just three legs, determined to keep up with the rest of our orphan herd and loath to miss out on anything,” Sheldrick says.
Watch the entire video below to see the awesome moment this baby elephant walks for the first time after a long road to recovery.
Can you believe how far he’s come in just nine months? Let us know what you think in the comments below and please SHARE this with friends on Facebook.
[Featured image: National Geographic/David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust]