The villagers heard the elephant sound before they knew what was going on – she was screaming, looking very distressed. Upon investigation, they found a baby elephant, perhaps three weeks old, trapped inside a hole at the southern end of Luangwa South National Park in Zambia.
But the baby was not the one who makes a lot of noise – crying came from his mother, who is desperately trying to free her baby.
The hole wasn’t that deep – people may have dug the soil to use it for brick casting, which left a shallow hole in the ground. But the baby elephant is too small to get out on its own. And no matter how hard she tried, the mother couldn’t get him out.
Rachel McRobb, CEO and co-founder of Conservation South Luangwa (CSL), told The Dodo: “The mother was in the hole with him and frantically ran around trying to help him out, but she couldn’t be helped either ”
A team from CSL, a wildlife veterinarian, and rangers came to the rescue. The first thing they do is reassure the mother so she can stay safe and calm. Then they helped the baby.
“I jumped into the hole with the baby and asked three scouts to help lift it,” said McRobb. “Then they carried him to his mother before we woke her up.”
The baby elephant did not need comfort much – he reached out to his mother and stayed close to her when the vet gives her an antidote and a sedative.
“I’m fine when I wake up,” McRobb said. “The baby immediately snuck in and suck – he was hungry because he couldn’t suck it all night.”
“The mother seems very comfortable and very happy to be reunited with her baby,” she added.
The mother allowed her baby to suckle as long as she wants. And when he finally got his stuff, the two elephants walked together.
“The most emotional part of the rescue for me was twofold – first watching the baby standing right next to her while our vet gave the antidote, and the second the smile on his face. those who have helped.”, said McRobb. “It was really the wonderful thing and maybe the best thing that happened all year to me.”