They say that an elephant’s familial ties can be stronger than those of even the closest-knit human clan.
And the bond between this baby elephant and its relatives may have saved this boy’s life as his family rallied to save him from drowning while stranded on a muddy riverbank.
A touching set of photos taken in the Sabah region of Borneo show a calf struggling to climb up a steep bank after crossing the Kinabatangan River with its mother.
The elephant clings closely to his relatives after they came to his aid when he got stuck on a muddy riverbank
The elephant had got stuck on the muddy bank after swimming across the river with his mother. She is pictured helping him out of the water
While the adult elephant has no problems getting to grips with the mud, the baby struggles to get a grip without falling over
The mother tries to push the baby up the bank using her trunk but is unable to get him to safety
When the boy was suffering, the mother tried to help him by using the trunk of the cart to push him to the bank.
But this task was too difficult for her.
Given the animals’ traditional close family ties, it’s no surprise that two relatives come to the rescue.
The pair managed to smooth the mud around the calf, making it easier for him to climb to safety.
Once the calf was safe, a group of adults gathered around it as it clung to its mother’s feet in an adorable display of solidarity.
Photographer Beniot Goossens, of the Danau Girang Field Center in Sabah, said it took all three adults about half an hour to get the baby back on the road.
The distressed elephant is unable to make it to the safety of the trees and is seen slipping
The elephant has nearly made it to the top of the bank thanks to a little help from his mother
But the poor baby elephant slips in the mud once again
He said: ‘The mother and son crossed the river, but the bank was too steep for the calf.
‘The mother tried to push it away but couldn’t manage it on her own, so she called two family members.
‘While the mother pushed others to flatten the mud to make the calf more accessible. About half an hour later, they were on their way. ‘
Benoit described the scene as ’emotional.’
He added: ‘I have been studying elephants for many years, but some of the students I attended were amazed by the behavior of elephants.
“It shows that animals often take better care of each other than humans.”
Elephants are known to live in close-knit matrilineal families, with adult females taking care of their sick, in.ju.red, or orphaned offspring.
Like human babies, calves remain with their mothers until they reach adolescence, with some female elephants known to stay with their parents for life.
Elephants typically give birth to a calf every two to four years, with their babies already weighing around 200 lbs at birth and 3ft tall.
They eventually grow to 9.8ft tall and consume 270kg of food per day.
Another two elephants emerge from the trees to give mother and baby some help
The elephants clear a path for the baby, flattening the boggy mud to ensure its safe passage to the trees
Covered in mud, the little elephant is ushered into the trees by his mother