WATCH: Elephant Filmed Giving Birth in Rare Event Caught on Camera

by Taylor Cunningham
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(Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

A man recently caught a rare event on camera when he witnessed an elephant giving birth in Kruger National Park.

Parkgoer Adam Fillmore passed the two-minute-long footage to Roar Wildlife News on Oct. 16th, and the organization posted it on its Facebook page.

“Amazing sighting of an elephant giving birth this morning,” reads the caption. “We were privileged to witness the birth and interactions with the rest of the herd (around 60 elephants), and the electric atmosphere they created with their vocalizing and stomach rumbling. A lifetime sighting. Turn up the sound.”

The clip begins at the moment that the baby elephant fully leaves the birth canal. Two other elephants nervously pace around the mother as she meets the baby for the first time. Once the animals realize the newborn is alive and well, they begin ritualistically pawing at the ground and covering the newborn with dirt.

According to Specialists, The Strange Behavior is to Keep Elephants Safe While Giving Birth

Ike Phaahla, a spokesperson with the South African National Parks service, or SanParks, said that while the behavior seems strange, it is typical. The elephants are taking special care to keep predators away from the birthing cow and its vulnerable baby.

“There is safety in numbers,” he told Times Live, “hence other cows surrounding the new mother. The sounds are also to frighten any predator nearby. The trumpeting and rumblings announce the arrival of a new member to the other members of the herd.”

Phaahla went on to say birth excites the herd. And several cows will often “gather around the cow” as soon as she goes into labor. They instinctively know what to do as she goes through the process, which is surprisingly fast.

“There are benefits as when cows gather around like this it can limit predators like hyenas taking a chance trying to get to the placenta and afterbirth when they may injure a calf.”

The spokesperson went on to explain that the cows scratch at the ground to cover the scent of blood. This helps to keep predators that aren’t already close by from catching the scent.

Phaahla also added that giving birth is likely as painful for elephants as it is for humans. But the animal is quick to recover, which is necessary for its and its newborn’s survival.

“The cow will most likely remove any tissue and so forth with her trunk,” he continued. “The birth is typically quick, probably less than an hour.”

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