This is a heartwarming moment when a large herd of elephants stops to help a ᴘᴀɴɪᴄᴋᴇᴅ calf climb the steep riverbank.
In the MalaMala Game Reserve in South Africa, a small elephant calf is attempting to follow a huge adult pachyderm over a ridge.
But the infant sᴛʀᴜɢɢʟᴇs and tumbles as it attempts to clear the ledge above the Sand River. It decides to try another route by doubling back and trudging up an even steeper slope near the herd.
Despite constantly stroking the lumpy soil around this new obstacle, the baby elephant made little progress.
Fortunately, three of the older beasts noticed the calf in ᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀ and rushed to assist. But the boy appeared refusing their help and tried to do it himself by rushing up a smaller ridge.
The herd rushes over to assist and use their trunks to lift the infant once more when they stretch out their front legs over the mound. As the calf continues to paw at the ground with its front two limbs, one adult yanks it up, and another pushes it from behind.
Then the herd was on their way into the bushes and out of the Sand River oasis, with the calves gathered near her mother.
Timothy Van Vuuren, 28, who is a ranger and often returns to the bushes, said: “The view was quite peaceful and a large herd of elephants went down to the Sand River drinking and playing in the late afternoon before heading up in the direction of the bushes across an embankment.”
“I remember looking at the high step on the embankment and seeing how small the calf in the herd was and knew it would be very hard to get there. That’s when I decided to start filming.”
Timothy continued: “I felt so sorry for the little one as it began to ᴘᴀɴɪᴄ, but elephants being elephants, very family-focused, the calf was not left to sᴛʀᴜɢɢʟᴇ for long before his family came to the ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇ.”
He added: “We were delighted when they helped a small child get up and cross the embankment.”
MalaMala is a large privately owned game reserve neighbouring the Sabi Sands Game Reserve and shares a common border with the famed Kruger National Park.