Elephant Calf Cried For 5 Hours After His Mother Rejected Him


Many still believe that animals have no feelings or emotions – something that an innocent baby Elephant seems to have disproved after being rejected by it’s mother right after it was born at Shendiaoshan Wild Animal Natural Reserve Area, in Rongcheng, Shandong province, China.  Not only was it rejected, but the mother then tried to stampede her child in order to kill it.  This all led to what seemed eerily similar of a human having a breakdown, as the baby calf cried for over five hours after the horrific event.  It is not known why the mother elephant rejected the calf.

According to The Daily Mail:

Horrified zookeepers were forced to intervene after a female elephant attempted to stamp her calf to death shortly after he was born.

The female elephant had stepped on baby Zhuangzhuang almost immediately after giving birth at a Chinese zoo on August 30.

But vets initially thought it was an accident. They removed the calf to treat his injuries and returned him to his mother two hours later – but she started to stamp on him again.
Keepers drove her off and took the little elephant away.


The rejected calf then reportedly cried for five hours as staff at the Shendiaoshan Wild Animal Natural Reserve Area, in Rongcheng, Shandong province, tried to comfort him.
He is now making good progress and has been adopted by a keeper.

‘The calf was very upset and he was crying for five hours before he could be consoled’, a spokesman said.

‘He couldn’t bear to be parted from his mother and it was his mother who was trying to kill him.

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‘They have made a good bond. We don’t know why the mother turned on her calf but we couldn’t take a chance.’

What do you think?  Could this be a result of the elephant mother living in captivity, or is it just part of mother nature’s circle of life?  Let us know below!

  • DonDong

    Poor little guy. He’s so cute. Anyone who doesn’t believe animals are sentient doesn’t own a dog or cat.

    • Author Anita Meyier

      Maybe the mother was just scared of what came out of her. Its possible because elephants are afraid of the smallest things like mice. Additionally maybe the baby hurt her inside for months and more so when it was born and she thought it was the one thing that was harming her. I saw a baby elephant being born at a zoo and when the baby elephant came out the mother examined it and kicked it around a bit until she finally realized that it was a baby that was part of her. This has to do with inexperience on the mother elephants part and not witnessing other female elephants giving birth. If she had, she may have known how to properly react.

      • DonDong

        See, I’m more inclined to think it was about “post partum depression”, or that desperate feeling some must feel after giving birth, but not wanting to be a mother. I keep reading about how scary intelligent they are. But, after she realized her baby was part of her, she treated it normally, like a (loving) mother? Thanks for the reply. ;9)

      • zl

        Mother ellies very often kick the baby to encourage it to breathe.. and stand up.. It’s very normal behaviour. They don’t have hands 🙂

  • Dawn Appelberg

    there are several cases of animal in captivity killing their newborns, especially in horrific conditions. There was a sun bear in China that strangled her two cubs right after birth, and other cases where the mother just knew it would be too much for the poor baby to handle in my opinion.

    • Milton D Beattie

      Google Little Tyke, A lion cub that ended up utterly Vegetarian and could not even be deceived into eating meat.
      His mother tried killing it too.

  • Skylar Thomas

    I cried for five hours after reading this story

  • Linda Martin

    I believe it is definitely because of being kept in captivity. It’s sad that they can’t be wild the way they were meant to be.

  • Rukayah

    I think its the similar to the way that some human mothers try to kill thier newborns sometimes. It could be PTSD

  • Libertas

    Clearly the mother elephant was a democrat.
    I’m sure all of you “pro choicers” support her “choice”.

  • Jennifer

    Post partum depression?

  • Hahnemaniac

    Give the baby elephant some Ignatia 30CH dissolved in its drinking water!!

  • Milton D Beattie

    Google, Little Tyke, A lion cub that ended up utterly Vegetarian and could not even be deceived into eating meat.
    His mother tried killing it too.

  • Kathryn Evans

    I think captivity lends itself to an elephant failing to learn to be a good mother, which she would normally learn in a herd in the wild; but in captivity, all bets are off, and I think bonds will not be as strong. It’s also like that in human society. How can a girl learn to be a good mother if she has had a poor role model?

  • Deborah Dixon

    Maybe there’s something wrong with the Baby elephant, health wise, and the mother knows this. Nature’s way is usually for the mother to kill her baby animal or abandon it when there is a health problem with it.

  • shazz

    What! Are you mentally challenged!? Who the hell thinks animal have no feelings?

  • shazz

    animals* was in a rush there

  • S0NY

    I believe the mother elephant hate her life in captivity so much that she would rather kill her baby then subject him to this life.

  • k8ylee

    This is common when an elephant becomes an orphan from poaching or by being kidnapped and kept captive as a tourist attraction in a zoo, when they then reproduce a calf they do not understand what is happening and they become confused, afraid and angry and reject their child. It is a direct result from tearing these magnificent mammals from their natural habitat, for the personal profit and greed of poachers and corporation.

  • LaDiablaBlanca

    Apparently the grown mother elephant has no feelings. She tried to stomp her calf to death! Probably stress from having to work for minimum wage at mcdonalds, and getting no time off to raise her child, she figured this would be a better end than the end that awaited her baby within the next 20 years. If he didnt die of malnutrition, or not getting vaccinated because of his mothers superstitions, he would probably be shot by cops since he looked darker than the other elephants.

  • Geno Cidal

    One of the most fucked up things I have seen in the wild is a mother elephant rejecting her baby, trying to kill it as this one did and eventually I watched the hyenas finish the baby off, It was probably one of the most wickedest things I have seen outside the human arena, They claimed mother elephants do this when they sense something wrong with the baby. Nevertheless it didn’t make it any easier to watch.

  • John Vorel

    It might be that in the wild if a newborn is born retarded the mother might instinctivel kill it’s baby cause in the wild such a baby is a threat to the social order of a elephant herd. It might be an act of mercy in the wild. Birds often will neglect defective or inferior chicks and even push them out of their nest high up in a tree. Nature can be cold. Oh we humans would never do that. How many times have doctors told a woman to abort a baby because a sonogram reveals some issue. BTW, I know of a couple instances where a doctor has told a mother to do that but the baby was born perfectly healthy anyway. Yeah, doctor stamp on mother’s babies probably everyday just about in this country. You think humans would be wiser than the wild but no i reject that notion especially with abortion what it is.

  • farah

    I think the mother caught amnesia

  • Rosalind

    Royce Christyn- Has there been any updated information regarding Zhuangzhuang and his life journey over the past couple of years since his tragic introduction into this world? How is he & his human parent doing? I have been trying to find more current information about him and how his life is, but all I find is stuff from the past couple of years…the same story told a million different times, but nothing about his current situation.