Robert Brandford, the executive director of DSWT UK, told The Dodo:
Although the team did all they could, the prognosis was relatively poor as she was struggling to walk far and with a young calf. This was a very difficult position to be in.
After wandering for a total of three weeks with the bullet lodged in her leg, she finally collapsed from the pain.BabyZongoloni did her best, and scared away any animals who tried to approach. The heartbroken calf stroked her mother with her trunk, in an attempt to comfort her.
She quickly became weak though, without access to her mother's milk, but thankfully the rescue team returned to check on her.
The saddest part was knowing that when we found her collapsed, both mother and calf had been without food or water for some time as the bullet wound had left her almost completely immobile. This agony, pain and heartbreak had been caused from a single bullet. Zongoloni's mother was clearly targeted for her ivory tusks.
They brought the baby elephant to the DSWT sanctuary, as they could no longer save her mother, but she proved to be aggressive and wouldn't drink from a bottle.
She was clearly confused and grief-strickenabout the loss of her mom.Soon though, she met the other orphaned elephants in the sanctuary, and finally began to feel at home once again.
Zongoloni had a very clear recollection of her upbringing and time with her mother in the wild. To help with her emotional stress, we would bring the other orphans to feed just outside of Zongoloni's stable so she could feel part of the orphan herd. This helps immeasurably with all new arrivals and gives them a sense of belonging once more.
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