Baby elephant rescued after tourists spot it drowning

Elephant gets stuck in a dam at elephant park in South Africa

Updated: 
Baby elephant rescue


A baby elephant who got stuck in a dam was lifted out of the water by park rangers in a heart-wrenching rescue attempt.

Visitors to the Addo Elephant National Park in South Africa were devastated to discover a herd of elephants desperately trying to pull their baby out of the water. Source: Barcroft Media.

After attempts to break the bank failed, two brave park rangers jumped into the dam to heave the drowning elephant calf out on to the bank.

Scuba instructor Corney Coetzee, 39, captured these dramatic photographs of the desperate rescue attempt.

Corney said: "The adult elephants were using their trunks to spray vast amounts of water on the bank of the watering hole and then putting their weight on the edges in an attempt to break it down."

The baby elephant had been floundering in the water for over 20 minutes when one of the park's rangers arrived and called for reinforcements.

Baby elephant rescue

Corney said: "The rangers attempted to use a digger to break the steep edge allowing the baby elephant an escape on to the shore.

"This unfortunately agitated the distraught adults who moved the baby away from the noise and guarded the little one.

"A number of the rangers got on to the back of one of the pick-up trucks and raced towards the adults, forcing them to run off into the forest around the edges of the dam.

"Once they had the adults far enough away, two of these brave rangers jumped off the back of the truck, and raced towards the water.

"With all their might they managed to grab this little baby and push it onto the banks. The little one was so tired that for a moment it could not get his legs up underneath him and it looked like he might stumble backwards back into the water.

Baby elephant rescue

"Luckily his rescuers were there to keep him from doing so, and more rangers rushed in from the side, to help him up."

The pick-up truck moved away so that mother and child could re-unite but the baby elephant started to run after the rangers.

Corney said: "Another pick-up truck was brought in and rangers loaded junior onto the back and drove him to as close as they could get to mom without letting her get aggressive.

"The truck stopped and the rangers quickly off-loaded their valuable cargo before jumping on the back and racing away."

Then the calf's mother made a dash to reach her baby and wrapped her trunk around his little chest.

Mother and child were reunited and the two wandered into the forest.

Baby elephant rescue


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