Heroic Elephant Mom Gathers Herd to Rescue Drowning Baby in South African River

In a heartwarming display of maternal love and teamwork, a mother elephant recently saved her baby from drowning in a South African river, rallying the support of the herd to help pull the youngster to safety.

Curious about the river, the young calf ventured into the shallows to take a drink. Inexperience led to the baby falling into the deep water, it’s head barely visible as the frantic mother tried to lift it with her trunk.

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A mother elephant saved her baby from drowning in a nearby river, enlisting the herd’s help to pull her newborn out. Source: Daily Mail

Responding to the mother’s call for aid, five other herd members joined the effort, successfully extracting the calf from the water.

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The dramatic rescue was captured in a series of stunning photographs by Wesley Wolmarans, a 33-year-old photographer.

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A dramatic rescue comes after a calf falls into a nearby river, prompting its mother to attempt a rescue frantically. Source: Daily Mail

Wolmarans recounted the scene, saying, “We had found the small herd, and as we watched them approach, we noticed a tiny baby making his way to the other side to drink.

The little one was still too young to use his trunk, so he attempted to drink with his mouth.” The calf’s misstep led to a tense situation in the South African river.

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“The mum jumped up and started to panic as the little one struggled to keep his head above the water,” Wolmarans continued.

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His head was barely visible on the water as his mother frantically tried to grab him and pull him up with her trunk. Source: Daily Mail

“Frantic attempts from the mum to retrieve the little one resulted in a sudden and loud trumpet, and within a second, the entire herd was in the water searching for the little one.”

The herd members used their trunks and feet to lift the baby against the riverbank, allowing it to regain solid footing.

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Photos captured the emotional moment when the drenched calf was finally safe, surrounded by a protective circle of its herd.

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The picture shows the calf curiously exploring the shallow parts of the river before falling while the adults in the herd stand on the river banks. Source: Daily Mail
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Witnessing the struggle, the other elephants in the herd quickly tried to pull the baby out of the river with her mother. Source: Daily Mail

Wolmarans added, “The mum kept him away from the water after that. Seeing the little one struggling to keep its head above the water, I felt helpless. But then it was pure joy when the herd managed to get him out safely.”

Though drowning can be dangerous for young elephants, it is not unusual for older herd members to watch over and assist each other’s offspring in the wild.

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In the end, at least five other members of the herd joined the mother in her attempt and successfully pulled the calf out of the water. Source: Daily Mail
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Photographer Wesley Wolmarans, 33, captured the moment when the soaked elephant was freed when others gathered to protect him. Source: Daily Mail
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It is not uncommon for small elephants to drown when moving fast or in deep water, a traumatic event for others as elephants are known to express grief. Source: Daily Mail
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The rescue mode Wolmarans sees is expected in the wild, with older members of the herd keeping an eye on each other’s offspring. Source: Daily Mail

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