When villagers heard an elephant crying out and sounding very distressed, they went to investigate. It was then they found a baby elephant, who was about three-weeks-old, trapped inside of a pit on the southern end of South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. The baby, however, was not the one making the noise, the cries came from his mother, who was desperately trying to free her baby.
The pit was not that deep. The villagers had been digging up soil there to use for brick molding and left a shallow hole in the ground. However, the baby elephant was too small to get out on his own. As hard as she tried, the mother elephant could not get him out either.
“The mum was inside the pit with him, and frantically running around trying to help him out, but she also couldn’t quite manage,” Rachel McRobb, CEO, and co-founder of Conservation South Luangwa (CSL) said.
A wildlife vet, a team from CSL, and park rangers came to the rescue. The tranquilized the mother so she’d stay safe and calm and then helped the baby.
“I jumped into the pit with the baby and got three scouts to help lift him out,” McRobb said. “They then carried him over to his mum before we woke her up.”
The baby made a beeline for his mom and stayed close to her as the vet gave her an antidote to the tranquilizer.
“Mum was fine when she woke up,” McRobb said. “The baby immediately snuck in there and had a suckle — he was famished from not feeding all night.”
“The mum seemed very relaxed and very happy to be reunited with her baby,” she added.
The mom allowed her baby to feed as long as he wanted, and when he was done, the two elephants walked off together.
“The most emotional part of the rescue for me was twofold — first watching the baby stand right by his mum while our vet gave the antidote, and secondly the smiles on the faces of everyone who helped,” McRobb said. “It really was amazing and probably the nicest thing that has happened all year for me.”
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