By Charlotte Regen
An adorable rescue elephant uses its trunk to imitate its carer’s dance moves.
Playful Ngilai flicks his long, grey appendage over the shoulder of keeper Julius Shivenga at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi, Kenya.
Laughing, Julius joins in waving his arms in the air, the two-year-old calf begins to imitate his movements on October 1.
Ngilai moves back on to his back legs and throws his head into the air even allowing Julius to gently hold on to his trunk as they trade dance moves.
Robert Brandford said: “To see Ngilai now so happy and playful, surrounded by love and his new family, one consisting of other orphaned elephants and human carers is inspiring.
“Wild elephants are often fearful of humans, because humans cause them so much harm through poaching or human-wildlife conflict.
“This is an elephant that lost its wild mother, separated from her when he became trapped in a water well.
“She would have been forced to leave him, which would have been an impossible decision for her.
“So, the mother would have been forced to leave with the rest of the herd – leaving her child would be no less painful than a human mother leaving her child.”
Ngilai was rescued after being stuck in a well two-years-ago, but is progressing well and will soon be moved to the Tsavo National Park in Kenya, to join older orphans.
As with the other animals in their care, the long term aim for DSWT is to be able to reintegrate him back into wild elephant herds.
Robert said: “As you can see, Julius was having the same fun as Ngilai.
“He has worked for the DSWT for many years and in his role, as with other keepers, he acts as a surrogate parent to the elephants.
“The keepers are with them 24 hours a day.
“At night a different keeper sleeps with a different elephant, as in the wild the elephant’s mother would be there.
“When they are happy and enjoying life, he is overjoyed as it is a sign that the elephant is progressing.”