Against the Clock: The Miraculous Rescue of a Baby Elephant from a Mud Trap

In a breathtaking race against time, a young elephant was miraculously pulled from the clutches of a dangerous mud pool after enduring over 12 hours of confinement.

The juvenile bull, discovered by safari tourists along Africa’s Zambezi River, was alarmingly immersed in mud up to its neck.

Mud-dled up: The young elephant was spotted sinking into the marshland by tourists on safari along the Zambezi River in Africa
Muddled up: The young elephant was spotted sinking into the marshland by tourists on safari along the Zambezi River in Africa.

The urgency of the situation became evident upon the rescue team’s arrival. The tiny titan was struggling to release its trunk, teetering on the edge of suffocation.

ADVERTISEMENT

Bradley White and his wife Annelize, proprietors of the neighboring Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, received an SOS call.

Sticky situation: The baby elephant was found after twelve hours, stuck with mud up to his neck
Sticky situation: The baby elephant was found after 12 hours, stuck with mud up to his neck.

The couple rushed to the scene without hesitation, assembling a team to aid in the harrowing rescue.

The team was met with several unsuccessful attempts to free the creature from its muddy prison before finally liberating it. White speculated that the baby elephant had probably fallen into the trap the previous evening.

ADVERTISEMENT

The young pachyderm’s survival beyond 12 hours was nothing short of a miracle, as it wouldn’t have endured much longer.

Mission begins: Bradley White helps tie the ropes around the elephant's neck after wetting the mud
The mission begins: Bradley White helps tie the ropes around the elephant’s neck after wetting the mud.

White elaborated, “These mud traps are particularly enticing for elephants as they move towards the abundant greenery.

Unfortunately, they often sink deep into the mud, leading to dehydration and a halt in blood circulation to their legs.”

ADVERTISEMENT

He added, “Without intervention, these helpless animals face a grim fate, either succumbing to their circumstances or falling prey to predators like vultures or hyenas, drawn by their panicked calls for help.”

Lifesavers: When the rope is secured, the team begins to pull the five-year-old bull elephant out of the mud
Lifesavers: When the rope is secured, the team begins to pull the five-year-old bull elephant out of the mud.
ADVERTISEMENT

The rescue operation saw the team using 200 liters of water to mitigate the hardening mud around the baby elephant and to keep it cool under the blazing sun.

White recounted the tricky extraction process, “We had to ensure a careful pull, avoiding injury to the elephant’s legs which were solidly lodged in fast-drying clay.

ADVERTISEMENT

Our initial approach was manual, aligning him correctly for an easier recovery with a vehicle.”

Battle: The elephant is fighting to get out of the mudpool as the rescue team pulls him by the neck
Battle: The elephant is fighting to escape the mud pool as the rescue team pulls him by the neck.

Safeguarding the animal’s wellbeing was paramount, “We secured the rope around his strong neck to avoid the risk of a leg injury. After his release, we acted swiftly to help him regain his footing, enabling blood circulation.”

They achieved this by manually lifting him using towing straps under his belly. Though still a little shaken, the young elephant is currently doing well and has shown the ability to fend for himself.

ADVERTISEMENT

Nonetheless, he remains under the vigilant watch of the Whites to prevent any future predicaments.

One-two-three-pull: It took an entire team to turn the elephant around in the mud before they could attach the ropes to a car
One-two-three-pull: It took an entire team to turn the elephant around in the mud before they could attach the ropes to a car.
Desperate: The poor creature fought for his life but struggled to summon the energy after twelve hours in the mud
Desperate: The poor creature fought for his life but struggled to summon the energy after 12 hours in the mud.
Reward: Annelize and Bradley try to motivate the elephant to make one last push by offering it a handful of treats
Reward: Annelize and Bradley try to motivate the elephant to make one last push by offering it treats.
ADVERTISEMENT
Nearly there: Motivated by the nuts in Annelize's hand, the baby elephant managed to get its leg unstuck
Nearly there: Motivated by the nuts in Annelize’s hand, the baby elephant managed to get its leg unstuck.
A shower in my mud bath: Mud is washed from the elephant's face and eyes by throwing water over it
A shower in my mud bath: Mud is washed from the elephant’s face and eyes by throwing water over it.
Finally out: Stretching its legs the elephant is a big shaky - but safe
Finally, out, Stretching its legs, the elephant is shaky but safe.

Read more Elephant News.


ADVERTISEMENT