A mom elephant saved her baby from drowning in a local river by asking the herd’s assistance in pulling the child out.
The spectacular rescue was caught by photographer Wesley Wolmarans.
Before diving in and trying to drink, the calf looks to be investigating the river’s shallows. His mother tries furiously to pull him up with her trunk, but his face is barely noticeable above the water.
When the mum yelled for help, 5 other members of the herd arrived and effectively rescued the calf from the stream.
Wesley said, ‘We had spotted the little herd, and when they got near enough, I observed a young child moving to the opposite side to drink.’ ‘Because he was too young to move his trunk, the small one attempted drinking with his lips.’
One South African adds, “The child fell into the river, and it was deep.” ‘As the small one tried to keep his head above water, the mother sprang up and began to worry.’
The mom’s desperate search for the baby resulted in a frightening and deafening trumpet as the entire herd raced into the water in search of the baby.
They were able to find and pull the boy out of the riverbank with their feet and trunks, helping him to walk out onto firm ground and displaying the fear in his eyes.
As the others crowded securely around the elephant, he was saved.
‘After that, his mother was keeping her eye on him .’ ‘Watching the small one make sure to keep its head out of the water gave me a sense of helplessness,’ Wolmarans added.
‘And then it was pure joy when the gang managed to bring him out safely.’
Small elephants are at risk of drowning in fast-moving or deep water.
In the wild, though, the type of rescue Wolmarans observed is frequent, with senior herd leaders keeping an eye on one other’s young.