A very true saying, “An elephant never forgets.” In the wild, an elephants memory is the key to survival. The memory of an elephant is legendary; they can remember other elephants, including humans for decades.
In 2006 an orphaned elephant of about 5 months was rescued by Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT) in Kenya, where they hand raised her until she was old enough to return to the wild. There she lived a free independent life.
The orphaned elephant, who was named Loijuk, would return monthly to visit the sanctuary, which gave her a second chance in life. In September Loijuk surprised her caretakers at the sanctuary with a newborn calf in tow.
Clearly, the proud mom couldn’t wait to show off her newborn. Just hours old, mom and baby now named Lili visited the sanctuary so she could introduce her to her human family.
What an unbelievable encounter, Loijuk allowed the sanctuary’s head keeper Benjamin Kyalo to interact freely with Lili. After stroking wobbly Lili, Kyalo breathed into her truck. That is how she would learn his scent for future reunions.
Due to the visits, the staff at SWT can now monitor the elephants’ progress and ensure that Lili grows up healthy.
Lili is the 31st calf raised by the sanctuary and returned to the wild.
According to Japanese scientists, African elephants have the most significant number of genes dedicated to the sense of smell of any mammal. Not surprising considering the size of the elephant’s nose, which is not only long but superior.
Smell is crucial to all mammals to sniff out their food and avoid predators, as well as finding mates and locating their offspring.
As for the elephants’ memory, apparently dolphins are in first place for having the best memory.
Due to illegal poaching, the elephant species face numerous threats.
For more info: www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org