A photo of a dwarf elephant recently went viral, which is not very surprising — especially when you take a look at the adorable pachyderm,
The picture, which was originally taken by Brad Abbott, resurfaced online via Reddit Thursday.
This wild dwarf elephant was first spotted in Sri Lanka back in 2013, according to an NPR news station in Boston. He was first observed at the Udawalawe National Park. Even though he vanished shortly thereafter, the Center for Conservation and Research in Sri Lanka confirmed his reappearance in December 2014.
Even though he is fully grown, this dwarf elephant is reportedly only “five feet tall at the shoulder,” according to the report. Keep in mind that the average elephant is 11 feet tall at the shoulder – more than twice the size of this dwarf elephant. Therefore, it is not surprising that many people were concerned about his survival when he initially vanished from the park.
However, the report states that his attitude (when first observed) showed signs of the dwarf elephant being more than capable of taking care of himself.
“At just five feet at the shoulder, the existence of the dwarf elephant surprised researchers. And so did his attitude. When the elephant was first observed he was actually picking on a much larger elephant. It was early on the morning of July 7 of 2013 on a road in a national park in Sri Lanka. Two elephants were ‘sparring’ and the one with ‘short, stubby legs,’ according to biologists appeared to be the aggressor. Both males showed signs of being in ‘musth,’ a seasonal state in which a male’s testosterone levels can climb to 50 or even 100 times normal, making him combative.”
The dwarf elephant has apparently built a bit of a fan club online, according to the numerous tweets that have been posted either about this particular dwarf elephant or wanting to own one in general.
— Joey Ariza (@joeyariza) December 3, 2015
@luuke34 I will adopt a dwarf elephant w you and we can name her Rosie😋
— J-boogie (@jessabellehiggi) November 30, 2015
I want a dwarf elephant🐘 — The High Gay (@TheHighGay) November 4, 2015
if u wanna get with me u gotta get me a dwarf elephant
— ❄️vareesha khlause❄️ (@unkhanventional) September 29, 2015
Even though his height is considerably shorter than the average elephant, this dwarf elephant reportedly had typical proportions and similar characteristics with elephants twice his size.
For instance, recorded videos and captured photographs of the elephant showed that he had a “massive, typically ‘male’ head” since it was bony and big “with a broad trunk base.” His body proportionately matched the size of the other elephants surrounding him — making him very unique in comparison to other dwarf elephants.
According to the report, this unique elephant’s story of survival was also made crystal clear by some of the visible battle scars that were observed on his body. For instance, he had a collection of old gunshot wounds on his body, indicating that he had likely been someone’s target when raiding crops. The elephant also had a noticeable scar close to the tip of his trunk, so he may have survived a very close call with a snare.
The Whitley Fund for Nature reports that human-elephant conflict is a major problem in Sri Lanka. Studies show that this ongoing war between people and pachyderms claimed the lives (on average) of three elephants and one person every week.
The current age of the wild dwarf elephant featured in this viral picture is unknown. However, certain physical signs of aging — such as the fact that his ears are folded downwards — prove that he is a mature adult.
[Image via Dollar Photo Club]