This was the adorable moment when a devoted herd came together to rescue a newborn bull elephant that had fallen into a watering hole.
The terrified youngster tumbled into the pit and was knee-deep in mud and sludge as it flailed about to climb out.
In these wonderful pictures and video, you can see that the mother’s attempts to save her youngster are fruitless before a larger female steps in, bends down to her knees, and miraculously manages to push the infant out of harm with her trunk.
“I know I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Richard Tustin, a photographer who spent hours at the hole waiting for something exciting to happen. He heard the mother screaming in despair and saw the look of terror on her face as she struggled to save her calf.
He also claimed that he could hear jubilant trumpeting when the child was saved.
When Steve and Vanessa Hole were visiting Nxai Pan Park in Botswana, they witnessed a fantastic occurrence.
Richard was able to take some photographs while his wife recorded the last few minutes of the dramatic rescue.
He said: “The calf is seen in the water for the first few frames, followed by its mother’s fruitless efforts to drag it out.
“She was screaming in despair and look at those eyes – pure terror. She was pretty small, and most likely, it was her first baby.
“A larger female came rushing in and literally pushed her out of the way, went down on her knees, and pulled the baby out, followed by a triumphant trumpet as if to say “I did it.”
“So human-like and touching. Afterwards they settled down and walked off.
“It was a truly unforgettable encounter, and it just underscores how clever these animals are and how their social structure works.
Fortunately, I had my camera out and ready at a fast shutter speed.
It only took a minute, but we’d spent hours at this particular watering hole, and we got some fantastic footage of elephant behavior as a result.
The mother was beside herself, and the final triumphant trumpeting was fantastic. It’s probably quite typical, but it’s seldom seen.
“Elephants have a solid social structure.
“When we go to the parks, our favorite thing to do is sit and watch how things operate. It’s like watching a real movie: seeing their interaction with one other, the hierarchy among lone bulls, infants interacting with other kids.
“We underestimated their intellect and could learn from them,” he added.
It pains me to see people make hasty, spontaneous decisions that have a negative influence on their lives.
“We as humans are conceited and ignorant, and we are slowly demolishing the world in which we live. “We should pay greater attention to nature and take advantage of our experiences.
“If it weren’t for humans, the environment would take care of itself. We don’t have to intervene all the time.”