Surprise Weekend at Marakele; Baby Elephant Rescue!

We were still watching the herd of elephants calmly going about their business on the shores of the dam at Tlopi Tented Camp in Marakele National Park on Marilize’s birthday, when suddenly there was a tremendous uproar in the herd.

Cows were trumpeting in panic and rushing to a specific spot, while one particular youngster was screaming blue murder and running away from the same place as quickly as the grown-ups were approaching.

It quickly became apparent that a tiny baby had fallen down a small embankment and into the mud at the edge of the pool, struggling to get up. Within seconds the adult cows were lending either a helping foot or trunk and the baby was lifted to safety.

While we didn’t see how the baby ended up in the mud to begin with, from their reaction to the youngster that fled the scene earlier, and who was still screeching to high heaven but now circled back to the group of cows where they were soothing the upset baby, it was rather clear who the adult elephants thought carried the blame for the incident!

56 thoughts on “Surprise Weekend at Marakele; Baby Elephant Rescue!

  1. ConsciousKizz

    Their sense of togetherness is what the world needs more than ever right now ! Ahh I love this . Just recently learned that elephants are the only animal that can die over heartbreak 😢

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Having had so many opportunities to watch their social interactions, including this scene, it does not surprise me at all that they can experience such sorrow! Welcome here, Consciouskizz.

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      1. ConsciousKizz

        I appreciate the open arms and yes I very much agree . It’s amazing what these animals can feel and do ,but there aren’t enough people who take the time to want to understand them . We’d rather benefit from their physical statutes, overlooking the true essence of the animals that we coexist with .
        We need more people like you🙌🏽✨💕

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  2. naturebackin

    How wonderful to be able to document this incident with your and Joubert’s photos. Incredible to see them working so cooperatively and carefully. The stress in their body language is evident and then once the baby is safe they seem so happy – some of them even appear to be smiling 🙂 What a marvelous rescue to witness.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      It really was an incredible scene, Carol. We really count ourselves blessed to have been in the right place at the right time to be able to experience the sight – and sounds – of the herd working together to save their smallest member.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Baie dankie, Dina, en lekker om jou weer hier te sien! Hierdie was n wonderlike belewenis en maak mens sommer weer van voor af bewus hoe spesiaal olifante regtig is.

      Ja-Nee, Joubert raak werklik goed agter die kamera en een van die dae kan ek myne maar wegpak. EN jy moet sien hoe pragtig hy kan skets; as ek hom nie self sien sit en teken nie sou ek hom verdink dat hy tekeninge of fotos natrek.

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  3. photobyjohnbo

    Wow! This is amazingly similar to an incident I saw in one of the elephant documentaries I watched last week. Like this incident, a calf got stuck in the mud and a group rescue ensued. That incident also turned out well.

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  4. Tranature - quiet moments in nature

    What an amazing rescue scene to witness Dries, the adults work so well together and I’m so glad they got the baby elephant back on dry land again!

    Liked by 2 people

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  5. Writer Lori

    I have such love and admiration for elephants. Their intelligence and commitment to the family unit is awe-inspiring. How lucky were you to witness this remarkable incident, and how lucky are we that you chronicled it in photos for us to see as well!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      It’s one of those things that you immediately realise how incredibly lucky you are to see the moment it plays out in front of you. We’re grateful we were blessed to be there at that time.

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      1. scrapydo2.wordpress.com

        Ek het jare terug in Etosha ook ‘n olifant beskerming gesien. Een groep meer jong manlike olifante het by windpomp en dam net rond gestaan. ‘n Ander trop met groot leier vooraan en ‘n hel bondel koeie en kleintjies agter hom. Hy het flappende ore nade gegaan. Die baba-oppassers het al die klein olifantjie omsingel en veilig gehou totdat die klomp “kwaaddoeners” weggejaag was. Ons het hoog in ‘n bus gesit en kon alles baie mooi sien. Het fotos geneem maar dis skyfies en was in 1977.

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        1. de Wets Wild Post author

          Nog een van daardie ongelooflike belewenisse waarvan mens so dikwels oor olifante hoor! Dankie dat jy vertel het, Ineke. Jou herinneringe daaraan is tien-teen-een nog skerper as wat die skyfies na soveel jare is.

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  6. Anne

    This is another wonderful example of nature at work! We once witnessed a similar incident at Kruger and were in awe of the group effort made – as well as the soothing and caring you have aptly described and illustrated so well. This is a scene to remember!

    Liked by 2 people

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  7. H.J. for avian101

    I’m so glad that they rescued the baby elephant! You have covered the whole struggle like a professional and the talented secretary, Joubert. What a moment of suspense and anguish! Thank you D. for the wonderful post. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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