Is there anything cuter than a baby animal learning to walk? This baby elephant isn’t even a month old, but it’s trying its best to keep up with the rest of its herd. Photographer Leighton Lum (33) of Aiea, Hawaii caught the calf on camera at the Amboseli National Park in Kenya. When Lum asked his tour guide about the tiny animal, the expert confirmed that it was only a few weeks old. Struggling to keep its balance, the baby plopped down on the ground after tripping over its own legs. He then very dramatically raised his trunk and foot in the air, alerting the herd of his tumble.
As Lum could clearly see, baby elephants don’t quite have the same stamina or strength as older members of the herd. Oftentimes, the little ones need to take breaks while wandering the area for food to keep from becoming exhausted.
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At one point, it even seemed like the baby elephant tapped its trunk on an adult member of the herd, as if to say, “Slow down!”
Always a patient and compassionate species, the rest of the group seemed to slow the pace for the infant member until it was ready to keep walking.
Baby Elephant Learns Vital Survival Lesson From Herd Elders
The first few months of a baby elephant’s life are extremely crucial to its survival. During this time, it learns to observe elder elephants’ behaviors, especially when it comes to finding food.
Elephants themselves are not particularly picky eaters. African elephants tend to eat mostly grasses during the wet season and add twigs, tree bark and leaves to the mix during the dry season. According to Elephant Aid International, baby elephants learn what to eat from their mothers and other older members of the herd.
The baby elephant that Lum spotted happened to be learning how to eat these plant products as well. While following the rest of the herd, the baby elephant blew his trunk across the ground.
“It was cool to just watch him and how he started to learn from the adults like blow dirt to expose the grass underneath,” the photographer noted.
Because of elephants’ massive size, they need to eat between 100 and 200 pounds of food per day to keep up their strength. Even still, only half of this amount will actually provide nutrition to the remarkable creatures. While this baby elephant surely wasn’t consuming hundreds of pounds of grass just yet, it’s likely the calf was beginning to ween off his mother’s milk and onto a plant-centered diet.
“It’s hard not to get attached to animals like this, he was just so adorable, and it was amazing to document his,” Lum shared.