Baby Elephant Collapses & Cries Non-Stop For 5 Hrs After Being Rejected By Mom

Animals are sentient beings who feel emotions deeply. They not only feel joy, sadness, grief, fear, and loneliness, but are also able to express their state of mind through conscious actions like smiling and crying.  

In this video from Shendiaoshan Wild Animal Nature Reserve in Rongcheng, China, we see a baby elephant named Zhuang Zhuang right after he was rejected and abandoned by his mother. The sanctuary workers believe that the mama elephant accidentally stomped and kicked Zhuang Zhuang and wounded him. This prompted her to leave her baby.


While it’s common for elephant mothers to abandon weak calves, Zhuang Zhuang was beyond devastated once he realized that he had been rejected by his mother. The poor baby simply collapsed and huge tears rolled down his eyes. He just wanted to see his mama again.

For 5 hours, the sanctuary staff worked hard to console the injured Zhuang Zhuang. But the heartbroken baby hid under a blanket and kept weeping until his eyes were swollen. Meanwhile, the mama elephant also become depressed at the dying state of her child. She stopped eating altogether.


When the sanctuary staff tried to reunite Zhuang Zhuang with his mother, the mama elephant tried to stomp him again, so the staff decided to separate them permanently. One of the keepers at the sanctuary later adopted Zhuang Zhuang and they have made a good bond.



Zhuang Zhuang’s unique display of emotions has once again proved that animals are just like us. In fact, the “Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness” claims that animals have strong neuroanatomical, neurochemical and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states that help them exhibit intentional behaviors. This is why no one should ever hurt animals!


Ferdinand writes, “In the wild in an elephant herd, all the members of the herd grow up caring for all of the younger calves. They effectively learn to parent with the support of their aunts, sisters and the matriarch.”

“When a calf is born, the mother is surrounded by her female relatives, but she will choose a special ‘auntie’ to help her give birth. The auntie and the other members of the herd assist the mother, but they also pay special attention to the calf. If this is a first-time mother, she may be scared and due to the pain involved in the birth, it is possible the inexperienced mother will attack or hurt the baby, intentionally or unintentionally. The aunties will take the new calf away from the mother allowing her to recover from the pain and slowly be introduced to her new calf. In the wild, it is highly unlikely that a mother would reject her calf as the aunties provide support and assistance to help her accept the baby. Even severely ill or physically injured calves are seldom rejected unless the mother sees there is no hope in saving it.”

“In captivity, female elephants do not have the support of the aunties, instead, humans take the place to provide care. The mother may not grow up learning how to care for younger [elephants] and may be very inexperienced. The human attendants will take the calf away from her as soon as it’s born to allow the mother time to decompress and get over the pain and to assess the health of the baby, similar to when a human gives birth in the hospital.

Though there are cases where inexperienced human handlers have not taken the calf away and the mother elephant is so frightened by the pain and sight of an unfamiliar baby that she will try to harm the calf or reject it. Calves are more often rejected in captivity than in the wild, because the mother lacks the support that is part of elephant natural behavior, Ferdinand surmises”

Click the video below to watch Zhuang Zhuang’s heart-wrenching cries after being abandoned by his mother!

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