Elephant call herd to save her baby felling into a deep river in South Africa

A mother elephant saved her baby from drowning in a nearby river, enlisting the help of a herd to pull the newborn out.

The photos show the calf curiously exploring the shallows of the river before falling as it tried to take a drink.

His head was barely visible above the water as his mother frantically tried to pull him up with her trunk.

The mom called for help, and at least five other herd members joined her, eventually successfully pulling the calf out of the water.

A mother elephant has saved her baby from drowning in a nearby river, enlisting the help of the herd to pull the infant free
The dramatic rescue came after the young calf fell into a nearby river, prompting a frantic rescue effort by his mother
His head is barely visible above the water as his mother tries frantically to grab hold of him and pull him up with her trunk

Photographer Wesley Wolmarans, 33, captured the dramatic rescue.

Wesley explained: “We found a small herd, and as we watched them approach, we noticed a baby making his way over to the other side to get a drink of water.

‘The child was still too young to use his trunk, so he tried to take it by mouth.

“The next moment, the baby fell into the water, and it was intense,” said the Gauteng, a South African native.

Pictures show the curious calf exploring the shallows of the river before falling in, while the adults in the herd stand on the riverbank
Seeing the struggle, other elephants from the herd quickly join the mother to try and pull the baby from the river
Eventually, at least five other members of the herd join the mother in her efforts and succeed in pulling the calf out of the water

‘The mother jumped up and started panicking as the child tried to keep his head above the water.

‘The mother’s frantic attempts to retrieve the youngster resulted in a sudden and loud trumpet, and within a second, the whole herd was in the water looking for the baby.

‘Using their feet and trunks to find and push the baby up against the riverbank – he was able to step onto firm ground, and fear was evident in his eyes.

The photos show the moment the submerged elephant was freed, as others gathered around to protect him.

Photographer Wesley Wolmarans, 33, captured the moment the soaked elephant was freed, as the others huddled protectively around him
It is not uncommon for small elephants to drown in swiftly moving or deep water, a traumatic event for others as elephants have been known to show signs of grief
The kind of rescue Wolmarans witnessed is common in the wild, with elder members of the herd keeping an eye on each other’s youngsters

Wolmarans said: “Mom kept him out of the water after that.

‘I had a feeling of pure helplessness when I saw the baby struggling to keep its head above the water.

“But then there was pure joy when the herd got him out safely.”

It is not uncommon for young elephants to drown in fast-moving or deep water.

But the type of rescue the Wolmarans witnessed was common in the wild, with older members of the herd keeping an eye on each other’s calves.

Wild Elephants with relaxing music

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