Mummy to the rescue! Elephant rounds up the herd to save her baby that had fallen into a deep South African river

  • A mother elephant has saved her baby from drowning in a nearby river in South Africa, enlisting the help of the herd to pull the infant free
  • Pictures show the dramatic rescue efforts as several elephants use their trunk and feet to save the calf
  • Photographer Wesley Wolmarans, 33, from Gauteng, South Africa, captured the moment the soaked elephant was freed 

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

Pictures show the curious calf exploring the shallows of the river before falling in as it attempted to take a drink.

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

The mum called for help and at least five other members of the herd join her, eventually succeeding in 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.

‘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 take a drink,’ Wesley explained.

‘The little one was still too young to use his trunk so attempted to drink with his mouth.

‘The next moment, the little one fell into the water and it was deep,’ the Gauteng, South Africa native said.  

Pictures show the curious calf exploring the shallows of the river before falling in, while the adults in the herd stand on the riverbank

‘The mum jumped up and started to panic as the little one struggled to keep his head above the water.

‘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.

‘Using their feet and trunks searching and pushing the little one up against the side of the river – he was able to step onto solid ground and the fear could be seen in his eyes.

Pictures show the moment the soaked elephant was freed, as the others huddled protectively around 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

‘The mum kept him away from the water after that,’ Wolmarans said.

‘I had a pure feeling of helplessness seeing the little one struggling to keep its head above the water.

‘But then it was pure joy when the herd managed to get him out safely.’

It is not uncommon for small elephants to drown in swiftly moving or deep water.

But 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. 

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