There is nothing more powerful and motivating than the maternal instinct. Especially when your puppy’s safety is ᴀᴛ sᴛᴀᴋᴇ. In humans as well as in animals. And pictures of mother elephants helping their babies out of ᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀᴏᴜs situations are another example.
They say an elephant never forgets… and this one-month-old calf needs no prompting to stray from his depth near a ᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀᴏᴜs watering hole. The young man unexpectedly needed help from his caring mother to get out of a sticky mud after wading knee-deep in a quagmire. She quickly, if not elegantly, pulled an inexperienced child to safely by his tail.
The event took place when an elephant and her month-old calf were marching with their family herd in Cabarceno Wɪʟᴅʟɪꜰᴇ Park in Cantabria, Spain, when they came across a watering hole that the whole herd had to cross. His mother and five-month old cousin went first and successfully walked across the bank of the watering hole. But the baby was unable to climb up the mud and his protective mum crouched down before she hoisted him up by his trunk.
Photographer Marina Cano, from Cantabria, captured the ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇ on camera. She said: “I live close to the park and went there because it is the best place to take photos of African elephants outside of Africa. It is a huge terrain where they bathe and eat grass in the afternoon. I saw the older baby elephant and the mother cross the watering hole with no problems. But the younger one started to slither because of the mud. His mum saw it in seconds and helped him before he fell deeper into the water and what would have been a much more difficult situation. She crouched in the mud and picked him up with her trunk.”
He added: “It was amazing to see. Once the baby was safe, she stopped for a little while and then they went on their way. It happened so quickly that I didn’t have time to think. I’m sure if she couldn’t have ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇᴅ him by herself then the other elephants would have helped. I never thought the baby might ᴅɪᴇ, because I knew the herd were there and wise enough to save their newborn. I was amazed and happy to be there to take the pictures and capture the amazing moment. It was magical to see what seemed like human behaviour – a mother helping her baby. It was breathtaking and I felt honoured.”
Although this baby elephant was ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇᴅ, other elephants face an uncertain future due to habitat ʟᴏss and ᴅᴇɢʀᴀᴅᴀᴛɪᴏɴ. Another major ᴛʜʀᴇᴀᴛ to the species, ᴘᴏᴀᴄʜɪɴɢ linked to the ɪʟʟᴇɢᴀʟ ɪᴠᴏʀʏ ᴛʀᴀᴅᴇ, was highlighted in a recent Discovery Channel documentary. The IUCN Red List of Tʜʀᴇᴀᴛᴇɴᴇᴅ Species currently lists Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) as “ᴇɴᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀᴇᴅ,” while African elephants (Loxodonta africana) are presently listed as “ᴠᴜʟɴᴇʀᴀʙʟᴇ.”