The other night, on David Suzuki's The Nature of Things, I watching a fascinating documentary, about 45 minutes in length, called For the Love of Elephants. Now available online at the C.B.C website, it is a film that I urge everyone to take a look at.
The documentary revolves around a sanctuary outside of Nairobi, Kenya called The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust that takes in orphaned baby elephants who have usually lost their mothers through poaching. The more I watch documentaries about animals, the more I wonder about what really distinguishes us from them, other than the ability to speak. For example, like us, elephants grieve when confronting loss, young ones have a strong urge to play, and they are quite attached to matriarchs. Like ours, elephant culture has a strong need to be part of a group. Indeed, without such support, young elephants usually do not survive.
The other compelling aspect of the show is the tremendous love that so obviously exists between the keepers and the elephants. As is evident in the documentary, the job of the keepers requires long-term commitment, their ultimate goal being reintroducing the orphaned elephants into the wild years hence.
For the Love of Elephants is aptly named as it becomes obvious that the love the keepers show the elephants is a love that is ultimately reciprocated. I hope you will check it out.