A mother elephant saved her baby from drowning in a nearby river, enlisting the herd’s help to pull her newborn out.
The photos show the calf curiously exploring the river’s shallowness before falling as it tries to drink a glass.
His head was barely visible on the water as his mother frantically tried to pull him up with her trunk.
The mother called for help, and at least five other herd members joined her, eventually successfully pulling the calf out of the water.
Photographer Wesley Wolmarans, 33, captured a dramatic rescue.
“We found small cattle, and as we watched them approach, we noticed a baby making his way to the other side for a drink,” Wesley explained.
A child was still too young to use his trunk and tried to drink it by mouth.
“The next moment, the baby fell into the water, and it was intense,” said the Gauteng, a South African.
‘The mother jumped up and started to panic as the baby tried to keep her head above the water.
‘Mom’s frantic attempts to get the baby resulted in a sudden and loud sound of a trumpet, and within a second, the herd was in the water looking for the baby.
‘Use their legs and trunk to find and push the child up against the river wall – he was able to step onto solid ground, and fear was evident in his eyes.
The photos showed when the water-soaked elephant was freed when others gathered to guard around it.
Wolmarans said: ‘Mom kept him out of the water after that.
‘I have a pure sense of helplessness to see the baby struggling to keep its head above the water.
‘But then it was a pure pleasure that the cows had gotten him out safely.’
It is not uncommon for small elephants to drown when moving quickly or in deep water.
But the type of rescue Wolmarans saw was common in the wild, with older members of the herd keeping an eye on each other’s offspring.
Share or comment on this article: Elephant mother circled through her flock to save her offspring falling into the deep river of South Africa.