Mahout (Keeper) For a Night

“I once had the opportunity to visit the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya, while filming an episode of my show. I was designated as the mahout-or keeper-for the night of a 3-month-old calf that had lost his family to poachers. As we bedded down in his cage, my main job was to make sure the 350-pound calf had the tactile contact with me that he needed to sleep peacefully. Things began well enough, with him nodding off easily, but in the middle of the night, I felt a knocking at my back. He was having a nightmare, and I instinctively cupped his eyes so he couldn’t see the light from the oil lamp hanging from the ceiling. The trembling of his trunk slowed, and his breathing softened. Just as he was drifting off again, he started to twist a lock of my hair with the tip of his trunk. All 40,000 muscles in that miniature proboscis were working together to make sure that its tip-which is 10 times more sensitive than a human finger-brought him the soothing contact he needed. Suddenly, I grasped the trauma that a creature this sensitive must experience in the presence of a poacher’s brutality.”

-excerpt from Jeff Corwin 100 Heartbeats

Mahouts sleep with the orphans every night.

Mahouts at Sheldrick sleep with the orphans every night.

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Mahout (Keeper) For a Night

  1. Pingback: Mahout (Keeper) For a Night | A voice for the elephants

  2. GiRRL_Earth

    OMG this is the sweetest story — those poor babies, losing their parents. How awful. Animals are the most fascinating creatures. People who say they dislike animals are truly missing out on the amazing relationships humans can have with animals. I am the property of 5 very individual cats. Each has their own story. Each has their own personality and each one speaks to me in their own way. I can read them. I know what they want. I know when they are stressed, distressed, not feeling well or just need a dose of love. I thank my my higher power everyday for people like us — the voice of the voiceless.

  3. I would love that job….hey stop stealing the blankets!

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