An elephant caress

An elephant caress 1093 1101 Sybille Sciamma

Photo from a video from Reteti Elephant Sanctuary. To watch the video, click here.

Tiyapi Lekupanai is a keeper at Reteti Elephant Sanctuary, a community owned elephant sanctuary in Africa in the Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy in Samburu County of Northern Kenya. He is seen here bonding with an elephant calf.
The Sanctuary was designed to rescue and release orphaned and abandoned elephant calves, whilst creating benefits to the local people that live alongside them.

Reteti Elephant Sanctuary website. To visit the website click here

Strokes, caresses
so much needed
by the orphaned baby elephants
for a complete recovery
and by us poor humans
so often so deprived
of physical expressions of tenderness

Where, when did we forget
as a species
how vital caresses are
gentle touches on each other’s bodies
pats, cuddles, kisses
no words needed
just pleasure here and now

Physical intimacy
to heal from all distresses

« Spitz* has found that infants deprived of handling over a long period will tend at length to sink into an irreversible decline and are prone to succumb eventually to intercurrent disease. In effect, this means that what he calls emotional deprivation can have a fatal outcome. These observations give rise to the idea of stimulus-hunger, and indicate that the most favoured forms of stimuli are those provided by physical intimacy, a conclusion not hard to accept on the basis of everyday experience. (*Spitz, R., “Hospitalism: Genesis of Psychiatric Condition in Early Childhood »)

Eric Berne, Games People Play, The Psychology of Human Relationships