A nature photographer spotted something heartbreaking on a recent trip into the deep jungles of Africa. Amongst the herd, stood a baby elephant with most of her trunk missing.

Source: eMystery

The photo made its rounds to experts where there were varying opinions as to what happened to the poor baby to cause such a defect. The experts are divided. Some believe that this was a wild animal attack, likely by a crocodile, that left the baby so badly disfigured. However, many disagreed with this theory since the trunk did not appear ragged.

Source: eMystery

A large number of experts believe the baby was caught in a snare placed by poachers. This, of course, is a likely scenario.

While experts debate about the cause, animal advocates are more concerned as to whether the calf can even survive without a trunk. Again, the experts are divided.

Source: eMystery

Many believe that it’s likely the baby will perish as she grows up since she lacks the appendage to reach for food and water– but despite this theory, there is a glimmer of hope.

Source: eMystery

Elephants are one of the only species that take care of the infirmed. Where most animals look out for themselves and find a weakness in the herd a threat to their well-being, elephants nurture the old and the sick, no matter what. This can increase the calf’s chances of survival.

Source: eMystery

We pray that the calf learns how to compensate for her missing trunk and that her family helps her as much as they can. Please share her story to bring more awareness to elephants. Their numbers continue to decline. Watch the video below to learn more!