They say in order to overcome your fears, you have to face them head-on. While it makes sense for anyone who has studied psychology, those with a phobia want to believe that one day, their fear will just fade away without effort. This is why so many people have no intention of overcoming their fears on their own. Meanwhile, other people are convinced that their phobia will always be there, whether or not they work to overcome it.
Moyo, the rescued baby elephant, certainly thought his fear of the water, a condition called hydrophobia, would never go away. At just a few days old, the small elephant nearly drowned. Although he was so young at the time, elephants have a phenomenal memory. Hence, young Moyo could never forget his traumatic experience in the water.
But sometimes things turn out better than they do in our heads. Luckily for Moyo, he was rescued by the best sanctuary who would give her the care and love he needed after his trauma.
“Moyo was our first elephant that we rescued. He was found alone, as a tiny little baby on the shores of Lake Kariba. Efforts to find his herd was fruitless and there were no elephants in the area. After 4 days of being alone Moyo was followed by a pack of hyenas. ZEN therefore decided to intervene. We flew a plane to Kariba and collected Moyo and brought his back to Harare. He was extremely small, weighing only 56kg on arrival!”
Almost right away, it was evident that Moyo was traumatized by water following his near-drowning experience. However, the pachyderm would go on to get the help he needed.
With help from his caretaker, Roxy Danckwerts, owner of Zimbabwe-based wildlife sanctuary Wild is Life Zen Sanctuary, Moyo successfully went through extensive therapy for approximately 15 months. Although it was uncomfortable for the fearful elephant, he had to be exposed to water several times during his therapy sessions. But thanks to the exposure, eventually, Moyo was able to associate neutral, then positive, feelings with water!
Today, the once-anxious elephant not only overcame his fear of water, but he now loves to swim. Although Moyo will always have that bad memory of nearly drowning, what he’ll never forget is how brave he is and how capable he is in conquering even his biggest fears.
See how Moyo playfully interacts with water now that he has gone through therapy in the video below.