runtime: 48 min
This is a touching story of how motherless elephant calves are cared for and reintroduced into the wild. The programme focuses on the characters of the elephants Ajok, Ndume and Tya and their relationship with their keepers.
The story takes us to Nairobi National Park where David and Daphne Sheldrick established a sanctuary for orphaned elephants. The bond between the keepers and the Ivory Orphans gradually develops as the keepers sleep with the animals to calm the nightmares that they experience as a result of the trauma of loosing their parents.
We see how the orphan's personalities develop over the months in the compound. Ndume becomes the boisterous guardian of the group – Ajok is always looking for trouble and Tya who is a sick little elephant, develops a close and tactile relationship with her keepers. Unfortunately during the course of the film, Tya dies in a moving sequence, in the arms of her keepers.
For the older calves, life gets better and we observe the preparations for the transfer to Tsavo where they will begin a process of final rehabilitation back into the wild. In Tsavo, we meet Barbara McKnight, an American Biologist, who is making a comparative study of wild calves and those that have been orphaned.
Finally we see the Ivory Orphans introduced to Eleanor, an awesome thirty-three year old Matriarch who was rescued by Daphne many years ago and appeared in the feature film 'Born Free'. She becomes the group's surrogate mother helping their final rehabilitation into the wild.
Watch a clip below:
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