Rescued Elephant Comes Back For The Man Who Raised Her

Sunyei is a brave elephant who was rescued in the middle of the African wilderness when she was only about a week old, unfortunately she was orphaned after the separation from her mother.

Although a baby elephant is at risk when left completely alone, Sunyei’s destiny was completely changed when she had the care of wonderful people who helped her become a healthy and strong elephant.

Elephanta meets with the man who took care of her when she was rescued, he returned to present her calf.


Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is one of the pioneering organizations in the conservation of wildlife and natural habitats in East Africa, they took responsibility for Sunyei. It was there that the elephant met Benjamin, a man who, with his infinite kindness and love for animals, fulfills an incredible job as a nursery caretaker.

In a certain part, he fulfills the role of the mother of orphaned elephants like Sunyei. Rob Branford, CEO of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, commented:

“He organizes the care and welfare of the orphans and ultimately makes sure they are always happy and healthy.”

Sunyei managed to overcome her stage as an orphan calf and become a happy and healthy elephant thanks to Benjamin’s care, together with him and other caregivers, she learned what was necessary to survive in her natural habitat.

However, Sunyei created a special bond with Benjamin, they seemed to be connected somehow, they have been best friends for years.

In 2009 she was ready to start her life in the wild, in her natural habitat, even though she was surrounded by other elephants and started a new life, Sunyei never forgot who did so much for her.

Surprisingly, after almost two decades of her rescue, she decided to emerge from the wild to visit her faithful friend Benjamin, but she did not return alone, she brought her own baby with her so that the man who raised her could meet her.

An emotional act that reminds us once again how intelligent and noble these beautiful giants are. Brandforf commented:

“While it may have been more than a decade since Sunyei chose to return to the wild, it seems that she never forgot the kindness shown to her.”

The organization captured the emotional moment when Sunyei is reunited with her caregiver, through a post on her Twitter account that reads:

“Simply magical. Lead keeper Benjamin comes across an orphaned elephant that he helped raise, she has successfully returned to the wild, but she came back to say hello.”


After the meeting, everyone in the organization has been truly surprised, it has been just over 10 years since the elephant returned to her natural habitat and 20 years since she first saw the man who took care of her at all times.

Despite all the years, Sunyei never forgot Benjamin with whom she undoubtedly has a beautiful bond.

“That a fully grown and wild female elephant had the desire to present a new baby that very morning to the human family that raised her speaks volumes about her intelligence and sense of family – we can think of no other reason than her. She went back to a safe place to show her new baby to her caregivers, with whom she still has close ties,” Brandford said.

Since then, Sunyei has returned quite frequently to reunite with her former caretaker, perhaps seeing Benjamin as the best foster parent for her baby.

For the members of the organization it is really satisfying to see Sunyei return. In this regard Bradford said:

“Although Sunyei has grown up calling Benjamin and our caregivers her family, still, any interaction her caregivers enjoy with her is always on their terms. That’s what makes this moment so special, that she chose to share this moment with Benjamin and I trust him to do it.”

Thanks to the work of Benjamin and other keepers, many elephants have managed to survive and start families. To all those who watch over the well-being of our fauna, infinite thanks.

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