This is the touching moment an elephant reaches down her trunk to pull her calf to safety after getting stuck in a watering hole.
The young calf, covered in mud up to its neck, was trapped and struggled to get out until its mother came to the rescue.
But despite the adult elephant’s best efforts, it was unable to free the baby by herself, and ultimately rangers at Addo Elephant National Park in South Africa had to lend a hand.
The rescue was captured on camera by photographer Katharina Hilgers, who was on holiday in the Eastern Cape.
Mrs. Hilgers, 51, from Frankfurt, Germany, believed the baby elephant was pushed into a watering hole by a fellow-creature, and it took a while for her mother to come to the rescue.
She explained: ‘The mother finally paid more attention to the baby and tried to help it.
‘But the inexperienced mother led the child into the corner of the watering hole, where the walls were quite steep.
The mother tried her best to help the child for a while, but there was no progress.
‘She tried to push some mud from the rim into the waterhole to flatten the walls but was unsuccessful.
“Most of the time, she was alone with the child; the herd had moved on.”
Finally, park rangers arrived and tied a rope around the baby elephant while two people jumped into the pit to push the calf out and free it.
Ms. Hilgers added: ‘I caught a glimpse of him as the ranger jeep drove past me, taking the baby to a quiet place where he was reunited with his mother.
‘I noticed how muddy the rangers are, but with huge smiles on their faces.’