A baby elephant and its mother were rescued by conservation workers after they got stuck in the mud of Kapani Lagoon in Zambia.
Conservation workers from South Luangwa Conservation Society, who normally have a policy of leaving nature to fend for itself as much as possible, unless the problem was created by humans.
On this occasion, however, they could not sit by and let the mother elephant and calf die in such a horrible way.
Before the rescue by conservation workers on the flats of the Kapani Lagoon, the baby elephant and its mother’s herd tries to rescue the pair.
When they are unable to do anything, the team – along with members of the Zambian Wildlife Authority – moves in while the herd waits on the other side of some trees.
With mud in the lagoon drying quickly, the rescue becomes a race against time. Eventually a rope is slipped under the calf’s trunk before the pulling can begin.
A couple of attempts are made to release the baby elephant but it wants to stay with its mother and goes back, getting stuck once again.
At one point, the baby elephant appears to be calling for help while his mother appears resigned to her fate before the rescue gets under way
Eventually, they pull the calf out further away from what could have been its muddy grave. It hears the cry of a cousin elephant and runs towards it.
Rachel McRobb from the team said: “Most conservationists believe that man should not meddle with the natural order and that we should allow nature to run her course however cruel or grim it seems to be. We agree on the whole, unless a wildlife problem has been created by man (for instance in the case of snaring or being trapped in a fence, in which case it’s justifiable to intervene) then nature should be left to her own devices. She has a plan.
“However – every rule has an exception and the dreadful plight of a baby elephant trapped in the mud of the Kapani Lagoon and her mother, who had also got stuck trying to save her yesterday had us all in a frenzy of activity. We simply could not stand by and watch them struggle and slowly die.”
Once the baby elephant is freed, the team works to help the mother who has become tired after all the thrashing around.
The mother elephant is tied to a tractor and, inch by inch, she makes her way to freedom. Eventually she is pulled from the mud and runs towards her baby and the waiting family.