Elephants are known for their teamwork skills, especially when a herd member is in danger. However, not every herd handles crises effectively.
A recent incident involving a baby elephant falling into the mud at a waterhole in South Africa’s Madikwe Game Reserve showcased a somewhat disorganized rescue attempt by its herd.
Nico Verster, general manager of a nearby game lodge, captured the young calf’s predicament on camera.
He described how the breeding herd of elephants had been drinking at the waterhole when the calf suddenly toppled into the mud.
Verster observed that this herd lacked the cohesion and expertise typically displayed by other elephant herds in similar rescue scenarios.
The calf’s mother seemed inexperienced, struggling to get a proper hold of her baby while attempting to lift it out of the water. Surprisingly, most of the other herd members did not step in to help.
Wildlife rehabilitator Karen Trendler commented that the lack of communication and assistance could be due to inexperience, age, or position within the herd hierarchy.
The herd’s rescue attempts proved disorganized and ineffective, so the young calf’s situation became increasingly precarious.
It struggled to free itself from the slippery mud, growing more agitated and exhausted. Trendler noted that the distress of the situation was evident in the behavior of the other elephants as well.
Despite wanting to intervene, Verster knew letting the elephants learn from this experience was crucial.
Fortunately, the story ends positively, as the mother elephant and another herd member accidentally “bump” the calf up the bank during a chaotic exchange near the waterhole’s edge. The baby elephant regained its footing and scrambled to safety, much to everyone’s relief.
Watch the video below:
Read more Elephant News.