After Being Wounded With Poison Arrows, Desperate Elephant Runs To Humans For Help


Written by Amanda Froelich at


Amazingly, though the lead bull had never been to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, he had an instinct the humans there would help him and his friends.
Earlier this year, True Activist relayed the saddening news that within one decade, the African elephant is likely to become extinct. Because of the illegal ivory trade, over 100,000 African elephants have been killed in just the past three years.

Thankfully, three elephant bulls’ lives were saved when, after they were shot with poisoned arrows, they made their way to a place they remembered could help them: the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT).

The event, which took place two months ago, is memorable for many reasons, but began when poachers attacked the three male elephants.

While the one elephant who led the others to DSWT had never been a resident at the sanctuary, he knew other elephants who had. According to The Dodo, the elephant had mated with two former orphans who were raised at the Wildlife Trust Ithumba Reintegration Centre, who now lead their own wild herds.

In 2011, the bull fathered babies with them, who were named Mwende and Yetu by DSWT. According to the Trust, they’re certain he knew this group of humans meant help, and could offer assistance.

Credit: David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

In an update, DSWT wrote:

“We are sure that Mwende’s father knew that if they returned to the stockades they would get the help and treatment they needed because this continuously happens with the injured bulls in the north; they all come to Ithumba when in need, understanding that there they can be helped.” 

Elephants are renowned for their spatial reasoning and memory. Able to craft detailed mental maps that help them navigate their territory, it is possible that they are also intelligent and sociable enough to communicate with each other the treatment received by DSWT.

Credit: David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

“Every day, we are awed by Kenya’s wildlife,” DSWT wrote.

Amazingly, these elephants wound up in exactly the place they needed to be. Within several hours, the veterinary team at the Trust sedated the three bulls and treated their arrow wounds; they then cleaned out the poisoned areas and filled them with antibiotics and protective clay.

As the update shares, they’ve done well recovering from their surgeries and appear to be quite thankful.

This inspiring story deserves to go viral, don’t you think? Animals are FAR more intelligent and aware than most humans give them credit for. Unfortunately, poaching persists; but if enough action is taken to raise awareness about concerns like this and educate others on the amazing rational and beauty of these creatures, perhaps a bright future is possible for them.

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  1. They need our protection, they need us., as we need them. They are very important for humans as the millions of other species.

    Awesome story !!

    • They don’t need us at all.They only need us when we try Kill them,apart from that all animals and like would be happy for Nasty Humans to just go extinct. F.A.C.T

      • That’s actually not true, animals are able to form bounds with humans every single day so without us that bound would not be there as well as so many other things. It would actually be great if these nasty human’s, more than likely an individual like yourself, would learn to love the land we grew and continue to grow on and treat the land and animals with the respect it deserves.

        • Not really, Taylor. Just because animal ‘can’ form bonds with humans doesn’t mean they ‘should’ or ‘need’ to. Humans have distorted the food chain / natural order completely. Animals have no need for humans in most cases, and where they do need them is because of an action humans have taken in the past that has caused an imbalance of populations or destruction of habitats. Remove humans from the equation and this wouldn’t happen. Animals got along fine without homo-sapiens for a long time before we entered the mix.

          It’s sad that so many animals are no longer going to be around in a few decades. Perhaps when cloning is perfected that can be changed – but it won’t be the same.

          • even without humans every day a couple of species go extinct. I’m sure we have an influence, but we are also part of the nature. I don’t see us watching the world from the outside.

            today it is like it is, that’s sad, but today it’s true to say somespecies need us. I also think best would be to stop our bad influence on the nature and I agree we should try our best to do so, but even when all of us did we still would be a threat to the rest of the nature.

      • James, the “Nasty Humans” NEED to go extinct! F.A.C.T.! Humans are the scourge of the earth. The only reason they need us is because of our heinous treatment of them. You sound like you would be one of those “nasty humans” that would gladly kill animals!! I hope you are not reproducing!!!

    • Sorry Bob Lamers, animals doesn’t need humans, we humans need Animals, but not the other way around!! I found your comment “disturbing”… Why do you think Animals need us? You think we were there when they evolved? and we were helping them, or what? As a reminder we have killed species in the past that we will never see again… and if it wasn’t for us they would be around jumping like happy bunnies…

  2. My husband and I were at the reserve just a couple of weeks ago, and were totally impressed by the work they do. Poaching is a huge problem for elephants and rhinos, we saw anti-poaching rangers on all reserves we visited in South Africa and Kenya. Read about the “Black Mamba”, a group of women who are doing this dangerous job so their kids can enjoy wildlife. We discovered in Africa that conservation is a complicated, multi-faceted issue, but effort is made to educate the young, and that hopefully will make a difference.

  3. It’s my thought that these poachers need to be hunted down themselves and shot. This is serious and perhaps they need to know that their own lives will be lost if they continue this madness. The fact that these beautiful, intelligent animals will be lost to us only because of man’s greed is not acceptable in my opinion. They are more important than these greedy poacher’s lives. If they get caught hunting them, they lose their lives, period; whether they have murdered one or not.

  4. I’m so grateful for all you men that take care of our wild life! And fighting these horrible poachers! I love these elephants I wish I could shoot all these terrible poachers! Again thank you

  5. Kill any and all people involved with poaching at all levels, elephants are worth more than any one and all involved in the ivory trade !!!

  6. Elephants never cease to amaze me. Their intelligence and trusting the good humans of this world heightens the heartbreak of how evil men mistreat these gentle giants in epic proportions.

  7. I don’t know why they say the elephant had an ‘instinct’ to go to the humans for help. Maybe the elephant put 2 and 2 together and had a ‘thought’. We’re not the only thinking beings on this planet you know.


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