It was the beginning of April when I was driving along the banks of the Grumeti River and happened across a breeding herd of elephants. There had been some reasonable rain in the last few days and the river was flowing steadily. I realised that the herd of elephants wanted to cross the river towards me and so I positioned the vehicle nicely to observe this with my guest. Members of the herd began to cross, the elders not having any problems whatsoever but suddenly the herd exploded with wild trumpeting and screaming… something had unsettled them… We spotted a very young elephant that had been separated from its mother in the current and the youngster was battling with the flow of water. The adult elephants were worried for the youngster’s safety. The young elephant lost its footing and was rolled down the river over and over… We were worried at this point that this may have terrible consequences for the youngster.
The youngster’s mother ran out of the river, with another two females in support, and they charged off downstream. The mother was able to catch up to her youngster and using her trunk coiled the young elephant up securely and pulled it from the torrents. It was an incredible show of rescue and affection! Something my guests and I will never forget.
Image by Anicet Phillip