A group of playful photogenic baby elephants has been caught during a muddy battle, using their trunks to spray dirt at each other.
And as these stunning photos show, the gentle giants seem to be having a great time cooling off from the African heat in the mud.
Photographer Mike McCaffrey captured these muddy elephants during a trip to Umani Springs, Kenya, where he was able to see the work of the David Sheldrick Trust, who rescued orphaned rhinos and elephants.
Mike first adopted an elephant when he got married in Kenya and enjoyed seeing the progress the Trust has made.
The 34-year-old travel blogger, who has lived in the capital Nairobi for the past three years, said: ‘It’s great to see them being cared for as if they are being reintegrated into the wild.
‘They’re accustomed to people, so it’s possible to bottle-feed them with milk in the afternoons, stroke their foreheads, and understand their developing personalities as they play together.’
Mud bathing for elephants also protects them from the sun and any insect bites they may encounter while walking through forested areas.
Mike said: The baby elephants are extremely playful and sometimes naughty, spraying mud on people and sometimes on guests.
‘The elephants spend the morning walking around the Kibwezi forest and then head back to Umani Springs Lodge in the afternoon to get some milk and some water.
‘When it’s getting hot, they take the opportunity to cool off by taking a dip in the mud.
‘They seem to enjoy it, completely wallowing in the mud and throwing it high in the air.
‘When they have a mantle of mud, they wander to the red volcanic dust, take it in their bodies and spray it all over themselves and their friends, until they merge into the earth under them.’
Mike wants people to relate to these images and also understand that these animals are in grave danger with mass habitat destruction and p.o.aching for their ivory.
He said: ‘I hope the proximity of these images helps people associate these baby elephants.
‘I hope it helps people remember the joy of wallowing we had in the mud when we were kids, the joy of running in the woods, and the gentle nature with which we all made friends.’