WATCH: Commitment of elephant mom in baby’s multi-year nurturing

For Mother’s Day, IFAW is sharing some video of mothers and young of the species we protect. --ED

When you’re an elephant, being a mother is a commitment: 22 months of gestation. 4 years of suckling. But that’s not all. Elephant calves need to be with their mothers and the family unit for up to six more years before they strike out on their own.

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Means of communications are sometimes obvious, sometimes subtle. Young elephant calves can call out for their mothers from across the savannah, and their mothers will know whether it is a distress call or they are merely being a hot-headed child. Scientists also watch with fascination as calves can get attention and stop mothers for a nursing with a mere touch of the tail.

In the above video from 2012, scientist Cynthia Moss speaks about elephant mothers after nearly 100 calves were born that year to the herd she studies in Amboseli National Park in Kenya.

Learn more about IFAW and its work to save elephants.

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Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Dr. Cynthia Moss, IFAW Elephant Expert
IFAW Elephant Expert
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Chief of Staff, International Fund for Animal Welfare
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
James Isiche, Regional Director, East Africa
Regional Director, East Africa
Jason Bell, Vice President for International Operations
Vice President for International Operations
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy