Brave Baby Elephant Makes Sure Nobody Messes With His Mom

This tiny bull elephant might be only a baby – but what little weight he’s got, he’s clearly not afraid to throw around.

On a survey expedition in the wilds of Tanzania with the World Wildlife Fund, conservation photographer Joakim Odelberg had an adorable face-to-face encounter with the brave little calf. While his mother grazed, unconcerned with the strangers’ presence in the distance, the tough elephant tyke evidently decided on his own that they’d come close enough.

“He stood there quite arrogant, like, ‘Look at me, I’m the cool dude.’ Then he started charging.” Odelberg told The Dodo. “I guess I was supposed to be scared, but I totally fell in love. It’s like he was saying, ‘Don’t you guys even think about messing with my mom.’”

Lucky for the rest of us, Odelberg caught the entire ‘attack’ on film. (Warning: you may fall in love, too.)

Odelberg, who also hosts a popular nature show in Sweden, has been working in elephant conservation for nearly a decade, but he says the bravery of this calf made him feel even more strongly toward that cause.

“Every 15 minutes an elephant is poached and killed. That’s more than 35,000 elephants a year, because of their ivory tusks,” said Odelberg. “I am certain the mother felt we were not a threat to them, but I think she had taught the calf to be careful of people in general. I think that his mother is a very wise mother.”

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