Watch Elephant Mom Thank Rescuers After Saving Her Trapped Baby From Well

A video captured the moment an elephant mom thanked rescuers after they saved her calf that had become trapped in a well.

Keepers from conservation organization the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust arrived at a spot in the Tsavo National Park in Kenya to find a baby elephant stuck in the watering hole after the herd had tried and failed to get it out.

In the video, the mother can be seen pacing around the watering hole. Rob Brandford, Executive Director of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, told Newsweek that she had been getting "increasingly distressed."

Elephant
The mother flapped her ears happily and made a trumpet sound to thank rescuers Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Elephants are a socially complex species. They are very protective of their calves and rarely abandon them unless they have to. Females usually spend a lifetime by their mother's side. Usually, an experienced mother or matriarch is able to save their baby from these situations with the help of other elephants. However in this case it appeared "luck wasn't on their side," Brandford said.

Keepers grew concerned that if they did not intervene, the mother would be forced to leave her baby behind. Keepers drove their vehicle up to the watering hole and pulled the baby out of the well. This part was not caught on film as it required several pairs of hands.

In the video, keepers can be seen coaxing the rescued calf towards its mother. With her ears flapping, the mother then comes running over to her calf. The mother can be heard letting out several trumpet sounds. Keepers at the Trust thought this was a way of her displaying her gratitude to them for saving her calf. The mother and her calf then walk away, reunited.

"Animals seem to understand the Trust is there to help. Whether it's raising a trunk in salute, or echoing a trumpet, these expressions of gratitude and recognition time and again never ceases to humble and amaze," Brandford said.

Water troughs in the reserve are built in such a way to discourage calves getting into them but curious babies will occasionally climb in for a splash, Brandford said.

The herd of elephants in the video isn't a herd the Trust knows or is familiar with–the Tsavo conservation is home to more than 12,000 elephants. However, this behavior remains "fairly typical" of all elephants as mothers are always reluctant to leave their calves.

"Over the years, the Sheldrick Trust has lent a helping hand to a number of calves across the area so teams are well versed in quick extractions and family reunifications that are as stressful as possible for the calf and family. This was a perfect example," Brandford said.

The Sheldrick Wildlife trust works to rescue orphaned elephants, however where possible, they try to keep families together which is why they intervene during these situations.