The cow elephant’s active baby boy had been running around the zoo compound like normal all day – but not anymore. Her calf had been lying on the ground for a nap, but now he wouldn’t wake up. Her baby wasn’t responding to her trunk’s touch and her concern was growing. Suddenly though, a familiar face appeared to offer assistance.
On May 23, 2016, a video uploaded to YouTube hit social media squarely in the feels. The clip in question was filmed at Prague Zoo in the Czech Republic and its stars were a mother-and-son pair of Indian elephants. Prague Zoo first opened in 1931 and welcomed its first elephant two years later. The attraction now receives more than a million visitors a year, one of whom shot the footage that day.
The elephants stars of the film were Janita the proud mommy and her baby, Max. Camera-shy dad, Mekong, did not feature. According to the video’s description on YouTube, Max “spends most of the day in outdoor areas running and frolicking around.” And there seems to be a lot of space for him to explore and enjoy.
The video features Prague Zoo’s Elephant Valley – a large habitat specially designed for pachyderm residents, which opened in 2013. It is the Czech Republic’s biggest elephant compound, and is proud home of the first of the species to be both conceived and born in the country. Max made his appearance on April 6, 2016, making him just over one year old in the YouTube footage.
Eight elephants make up the herd in Elephant Valley – Mekong, Shanti, Gulab, Donna, Tonya, Tamara, Janita and baby Max. The facility is part of Prague Zoo’s contribution to defending animal species that are sadly in danger of becoming extinct. The zoo also has breeding programs to aid conservation.
Indian elephants are classified as endangered on the red list of threatened species provided by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. So the events captured on film at Prague Zoo that day must have come as a shock to concerned onlookers.