ELEPHANTS MOURN THE LOSS OF ONE OF THEIR OWN
Heart-wrenching moment a baby elephant discovers her mother has died... and refuses to leave her side
Baby elephant stays by her side, keeping watch in Kenya's Masai Mara
Stood by her mother for hours in the long grass
This is the heart-wrenching moment that a baby elephant stands by her dead mother's side trying to wake her up.
The desperate calf nudges her mother with her trunk in an attempt to elicit a response.
Eventually she accepts that her mother has died, but refuses to leave her side, keeping watch over the body for hours in the long grass of Kenya's Masai Mara.
It is thought the elephant slowed down and collapsed at the back of herd - the reason for her death is unclear.
Marks on her body are thought to be lions attempting to maul the body before the herd retraced their steps to find the missing elephant - they can be seen loitering in the grasses.
Wildlife Photographer Sarah Skinner captured the elephants saying their final farewells late last year.
Sarah, 38, said: 'It is always sad to hear another gracious giant has passed.
'I had a lump in my throat as I watched on. We were all in complete shock over the incredible behaviour that we were witnessing.
'It was an incredibly moving and emotionally charged moment.
'The young elephant simply refused to move from her mother's side, occasionally feeling her body with her trunk.
'It became apparent that this elephant was really affected by her mother's death.'
As the elephants that had congregated moved closer, some again touched her body with their trunks, while others just stood in silence and mourned their loss.
Gazing with a curiosity and apparent sadness, the herd gently prod and circle their fallen leader.
Following the solemn procession, the herd moves off, leaving the baby to grieve alone by her mother's side.
She sits with her mother as the day draws to a close, continuing to affectionately nudge her trunk.
Even when there is an unwelcome arrival from a number of lions and hyenas, the elephant stands ground over her mother to guard her corpse long into the night.
Sarah, from Berkshire, added: 'It was an emotional scene that I will quite frankly never forget.'