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Elephant returns child’s shoe in touching zoo encounter

NDTV – Despite their size and strength, elephants are often referred to as “gentle giants” for a reason.

They are widely cherished for their endearing and playful behaviours, in addition to their exceptional intelligence, serenity, and emotional sensitivity.

This reputation was reinforced by a heartwarming video that recently resurfaced on the Internet, featuring an elephant at a Chinese zoo.

The video, initially shared by Indian Forest Service officer Susanta Nanda, showcases a touching moment when the elephant retrieved a child’s shoe that had accidentally fallen into its enclosure.

Sharing the video, Nanda emphasised the elephant’s captivity, yet highlighted the enduring spirit and compassion it displayed by returning the misplaced shoe to the child.

He wrote, “Despite being confined, the elephant’s kindness shines through as it returns the child’s shoe that accidentally fell into its enclosure.”


The video begins by introducing us to Shan Mai, a 25-year-old male elephant residing in Weihai City, Shandong, China.

Shan Mai’s keen observation led him to notice the fallen shoe within his enclosure.

In a display of remarkable intelligence, the elephant delicately lifted the shoe with his trunk and handed it back to the child, eliciting enthusiastic cheers from onlookers.

The Internet loved the sweet moment and many were amazed by the elephant’s kindness and intelligence. Others said that the animal should be set free and not be confined in a zoo.

One user wrote, “Time to exchange places… as the gesture in this video is humane and so-called human gone wild.”

Another commented, “He should be freed and sent to his original habitat!’”

A third said, ”Intelligent and sensitive beings.” A fourth added, ”So much of brains and love packed in an Elephant! He even rested his trunk on the grill, maybe for some petting.”

A fifth commented, “Brings tears, no animal should go through this.”