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An Elephant Found The Man Who Saved Him 26 Years Ago And Their Reunion Is So Sweet

Reunited and it feels so good.

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When he was just 3 months old, Ndume was knocked unconscious by tribesmen armed with sticks and machetes, trying to protecting their crops. His mother died.

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust / Via

"He wakes up in an orphanage, and screams for his mother," one account read. "Ripped from his friends, his family, his mother, he has nightmares for months."

He was being cared for at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. The center has raised close to 200 orphan elephants, and is also responsible for protecting wild elephants, executive director Angela Sheldrick told BuzzFeed News.

Joseph Sauni, the trust's head keeper in the southern sector of Tsavo East National Park, oversaw Ndume's rehab.

Peter Cayless / Via

As he grew up and gained strength, Ndume started roaming around more and meeting other elephants, who sometimes led him into trouble.


Until a very tame elephant wandered onto a Tsavo film set in 2014.

Peter Cayless / Via

Mark Deeble and Vicky Stone, who are producing a documentary on wild elephants, spotted Ndume on their camp multiple times. They named him Chota and chronicled his adventures.

Deeble and Stone, longtime friends of the trust, called to see if the elephant keepers would come and take a look.

Peter Cayless / Via

Sauni, fellow caretaker Mishak Nzimbi, and others finally made it out to the camp on Feb. 4.

Sauni saw Chota and knew it was Ndume. Both the elephant keeper and the elephant seemed elated.

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“This is fantastic," he said in a YouTube video. "It’s unbelievable, seeing him now.”

Ndume clearly recognized his human friends as well, Sheldrick said.

Ndume appears in good health, according to Sauni and observations by the filmmakers who found him.

Deeble wrote:

Ndume's reappearance is extraordinary. That he is fully-integrated is unquestionable – occasionally he turns up with two other bulls, older and more battle worn – but it is clear that he leads them. We've seen him mating. He is in great physical condition. His tusks are wide-set and sweeping. He carries no scars from poachers' arrows. He is unmarked.

Watch Sauni's euphoric reaction to encountering Ndume.

View this video on YouTube

Peter Cayless / Via