Elephants are said to have emotions just like humans. "They cry tears," Kristin says. When a member of their family dies, elephants gather around the dead and pay their respects by gently touching the body one last time before walking away.
So when an baby elephant comes to the orphanage, it has often witnessed the death of a parent. "When the babies come in, they are so traumatized and heartbroken by what has happened to their family that some of them die just from the emotional grief," Kristin says.
To help the elephants cope, Kristin says the human handlers develop a strong bond with the orphans. "These men have basically devoted their lives," she says. "The keepers are with them 24 hours a day because that's what would happen with their mother."