A baby elephant cried for five hours after it was rejected and stomped on by his mother, in a tragic event that has captured the hearts of thousands of Internet users around the globe this week.
The newborn elephant began crying and wouldn't stop for a long time after he was separated from his mom for his own safety by zookeepers in China. The Zookeepers were forced to intervene when the baby elephant's mother, who had only just given birth to the elephant, turned on the newborn and began stomping on him.
The incident took place at the Shendiaoshan Wild Animal Reserve Area in Shandong Province and has stunned the zoo officials. Zoo officials initially thought that the stomping was a mistake by the mother, and they quickly moved in to remove the newborn to treat him for injuries.
Once they treated the baby elephant they returned him to his mother for a reconciliation. However, as soon as he returned they were horrified to see the new mom begin to attack the baby again, repeatedly attempting to stomp on the newborn.
Zookeepers again rushed in to aid the baby, and took him away. The baby elephant, rejected by his mother then began crying inconsolably for around five hours, causing great concern for the zoo officials. Even though the zookeepers tried to comfort the elephant, images have appeared showing the baby elephant weeping with tears streaming down his face.
The heartbreaking pictures have captured the hearts of thousands of Internet users around the world and have gone viral on the world wide web.
Since the tragic incident, the baby elephant has since began to recover well and has now been adopted by zookeepers, who are taking care of him.
A spokesman for the zoo said: "The calf was very upset and he was crying for five hours before he could be consoled. He couldn't bear to be parted from his mother and it was his mother who was trying to kill him. They have made a good bond. We don't know why the mother turned on her calf but we couldn't take a chance."
It is not known why the mother rejected her calf. Newborn calves are precocial and can stand and walk almost immediately following its mother and herd. A new calf is usually the center of attention for an elephant herd.
See photos of the baby elephant that cried for five hours after being rejected by its mother in the video below: