ANIMALS

Man saves drowning baby elephant and herd turns around to ‘thank’ him

There are few animals that have the presence of an elephant. The multi-ton, thick-skinned, proboscis-wielding herbivores are synonymous with “size.” Whales are the only other creatures that can claim to be so culturally synonymous with being so big.

And when elephants get protective, very few animals will try to cross them. That posed a problem for people trying to help this elephant.
At Addo Elephant National Park, a baby elephant got itself into a sticky situation and needed rescuing.
The park contains dozens of African elephants. Do note that there’s two kinds of African elephants. The smaller species, Loxodona cyclotis, is called the forest elephant. They’re about half the size of their larger sister species, getting up to 4 tons.

That’s still plenty big.
And the other species is the one we’re all familiar with for its humungous size and iconic head shape: the bush elephant, aka Loxodonta africana.

This baby elephant ended up in a small pit of dirt and mud. Climbing out proved to be a lot harder than the little one expected.

The rest of the herd gathered around to try and help the little one out. The best they could do was spray water around the edges to make it easier to climb out, but that didn’t do much at all.
With no fences or borders in this park, it meant any person who tried to intervene would have nothing between them and the elephants.
The staff gave it a shot anyway.

They drove up to the spot where the herd was and tried to dig out enough of the pit for the baby to climb out.
That didn’t go so well.

It went the opposite of well, in fact. It made things even worse.

In a panic, the herd huddled around the baby and ended up pushing it deeper into the water.
Well, time for a new plan. That baby was in deeper water now. Time wasn’t on their side to begin with, and now it just got worse.

What was their new plan? Well, risky for one. It involved chasing off the adults using their park vehicles.
An adult African bush elephant weighs over 6 metric tons. A particularly large one can get to 7-8 tons.
Chasing one off in a car could end in one of two ways. An elephant running off, or the car and everyone inside it getting flattened.

Thankfully, it didn’t play out like the 2nd scenario.

The elephants ran off and this gave the rangers plenty of time to get the calf out of the water.
A baby elephant is still plenty massive on its own.
The park staff heaved and pulled the over 200 pound baby out of the water.
The worst part was over. That’s one baby free from the water.

Except now, the baby didn’t want to leave them. I guess the rescue really sold the little one on them being its friends.

It wasn’t until the mother called for her baby that it finally came running back to her.
Well, there’s a happy ending for you. But that’s not even the end! There’s an even happier ending.
It sounds straight out of a movie, but the elephant started trumpeting to the rangers in gratitude.

But is it really weird? Elephants are notoriously smart and emotional animals, so perhaps it’s all to be expected from an animal as extraordinary as the elephant.

Even more reason why it’s of utmost importance that we work to protect animals them so future generations can appreciate them too.

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