Orphaned baby elephant raised by human “mother” in Malawi dies after illness

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An elephant calf that was separated from his herd and raised by a human “mother” for months in Malawi has died.

Jenny Webb, who raised the calf, said it died Monday night “in her arms.” She said the elephant had been sick with colic and diarrhea.

In February, Webb adopted the elephant, which had been named Moses after being found in the grasses of a riverbed by game rangers at Vwaza Wildlife Reserve in northern Malawi. She said rangers tried to find his family herd for two days without success and that his mother was likely killed by poachers.

Webb says the Malawi’s national parks did not have the funds to raise the little elephant, so she cared for him. Webb is the founder of the Jumbo Foundation, an orphanage for large animals.

Last month Webb told Associated Press that Moses weighed 100kg and each day drank 24 litres of an infant formula that is boosted with coconut milk and 14 other ingredients.

“Elephants are extremely sensitive,” said Webb. “It amazed me. We think of elephants as big, strong creatures but they are very emotional. Moses picks up on my feelings. If I am sad, he is nurturing. If I am angry, he quickly gets upset.”

Webb had placed a mattress on the dining room floor where she and Moses curled up for the night.

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