Birth is an amazing thing. One minute a living thing was in the womb of its mother and then the next minute, it’s out in the world. It’s one thing for a birth to occur in the controlled environment of a hospital or house. It’s another thing for it to occur in the wild. We see a wid birth, with a formerly orphaned elephant named Emily going into another herd and starting to go into labor.
The video starts with a recording of Emily giving birth to Emma. The early quality is akin to ones that I saw on 28.8 modems in the mid-1990s. After the birth, though, we get a crystal-clear image of the newborn elephant on the ground, struggling to get up. The other elephants in the herd start gathering around and kicking dirt. A few seconds later, Emma is up and about and the dirt-party ends. Then we see all the herd eating the dirt before the video ends.
After a bit of research, I found out why they kick the dirt on the newborn Emma. It’s to get her newborn scent off her – a predator would likely smell it and know that a vulnerable baby elephant was ripe for the taking. That makes sense, they want to do everything that they can to protect the little one in her first few hours of life. The whole eating the dirt thing, though… that I still don’t get.
There’s something majestic about the way these elephants all gather around Emma. They know that she’s a new life and should be protected at all costs. She has to learn to walk for herself VERY quickly though – if she came up lame or sick, her mom might have abandoned her since it would be a risk to have her trailing and leave both her and the herd open to predators. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case here.
Wasn’t Emma adorable? The opening scene with the birth was a bit unsettling, but I attended the birth of my son, so it’s nothing I haven’t seen… just… larger. What did you think? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!
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