In tender moment, baby elephant saved from raging river by mom; video

In tender moment, baby elephant saved from raging river by mom; video

Outdoors

In tender moment, baby elephant saved from raging river by mom; video

As a first-time mother, Soutine risked crossing the raging Ewaso Nyiro river in Northern Kenya with her 3-week-old calf, not wanting to be separated from her family that was on the other side.

But as can happen when the river is running high, the baby elephant was swept away by the strong current and was in desperate need of a rescue, which was provided by the mother elephant, as witnessed in video shot by Matt Brierley of Save The Elephants.



If not for the mother’s intervention, the baby elephant most likely wouldn’t have made it, according to David Daballen, head of operations at Save the Elephants.

“The river is also home to many crocodiles so there is little chance the calf would have survived,” Daballen told USA Today in an email. “You can see in the film how Soutine shields her infant by placing him between her legs to try and guide him through the water. This is a natural motherly instinct and this action alone probably saved the baby’s life.”

Having grown up an orphan, most likely the result of poaching, Soutine is forced to learn about motherhood on her own, as she is forced to stay on the periphery of the herd.

Photos of Soutine with her baby. © Jane Wynyard/Save The Elephants

“As an orphan, Soutine doesn’t have the guidance or support of older females or her mother and has to go through this huge learning curve alone,” Daballen told USA Today.

“When poachers remove the elder females from the herd—the ones with all the experience and knowledge which they would normally pass down through the generations—it’s often the inexperienced young females who suffer. Soutine and her baby are prime examples.

“In this case, it was Soutine’s decision as she was alone with her baby, probably trailing behind the rest of the herd as the calf would have slowed her down. We think she was trying to reach her family on the other side and misjudged the strength of the current.”

Save The Elephants, whose mission is to secure the future for elephants, reports that Soutine and her baby did eventually rejoin the herd.

Photos of Soutine with her baby by Jane Wynyard/Save The Elephants used by permission. Photos of rescue are screen grabs.

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