Shortly after the female gave birth (in August) to her baby at the Shendiaoshan Wild Animal Nature Reserve in Rongcheng, China, she stepped on her calf and injured him.
An elephant calf was left crying for hours after being attacked and abandoned by his own mother. Shortly after the female gave birth (in August) to her baby at the Shendiaoshan Wild Animal Nature Reserve in Rongcheng, China, she stepped on her calf and injured him, reports Metro. Veterinarians assumed or rather hoped that it was just an accident and after tending to the newborn's wounds, they returned him to her cage two hours later. Unfortunately, she attacked him once again and this time the hapless calf was tossed from one corner to the other.
A keeper arrived at once and drove the hostile mother away from the child, they named Zhuang Zhuang, to keep him safe. Despite being attacked by his own mom, Zhuang Zhuang, like any other calf, couldn't bear to be parted from his mother. "The calf was very upset and he was crying for five hours before he could be consoled," said one employee. "He couldn’t bear to be parted from his mother and it was his mother who was trying to kill him." Heartbreaking pictures were taken of the distressed calf show tears streaming down from his red eyes onto his face, according to a report by Huffington Post.
In another shot, Zhuang Zhuang can be seen lying under a blanket and weeping. Zookeepers have now been keeping a close eye on the calf, who they say is currently doing much better, according to Huffington Post's translation of a Shandong TV report. Meanwhile, Zhuang Zhuang's mother has exhibited a loss of appetite, and vets assume that she is depressed, which could explain why she did this to her young one. As for her calf's behavior (crying), Santa Barbara of the University of California explained how it was his way of showing his emotions.
The university offered a detailed explanation of why elephants cry. It stated: "The answer to this question depends on how you define crying. If by crying you mean shedding or producing tears, then the answer is most certainly yes. Supposedly, all or nearly all mammals that live on land produce tears to protect and lubricate their eyes, including you! This is important because mammals (and you) have eyes that move in your sockets and your eyes need to stay moist in order to move properly. Also, the tears help to clean dirt, dust, or any potentially harmful particles out of your eyes. This is the same for elephants as it is for you. If you define crying to mean shedding tears in response to emotions, then the answer to your question is a little more difficult. It is easy to show that elephants produce tears, but it is not possible to demonstrate that these tears result from emotions (what about the elephant's behavior, especially when it is consistent with tears such as the death of a baby), so we cannot really say for sure that elephants cry from emotions."
Either way, elephants are known to be extremely intelligent and expressive creatures. They show love, playfulness, and even grief reports PBS. In addition to this, they are also known for expressing grief after the loss of a loved one, similar to humans. They flap their ears and trumpet while playing or greeting someone with joy. But when they lose someone, they mourn their death by touching the bones or circling the body. Some researchers suggested that these creatures might even relive memories and equate such an interest in the dead that they have their very own concept of one's loss.