Mama Elephant Storms into Raging River To Save Baby from Being Swept Away


There’s something about babies that we’re just drawn to. The big eyes and disproportionate bodies are cute, and their helplessness draws us to protect them.

We’re wired to care for our young, but we also find a lot of baby animals pretty stinkin cute, too. And in many cases, they have the same features: heads too big for their bodies, huge eyes, and vulnerability.

Puppies, for example — who doesn’t just adore a puppy? There are some people, but not many.

Baby elephants have plenty of fans, too. Their awkward movements are adorably klutzy and we just can’t help but ooh and ahh and love them.

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But in the same vein as bears and other large and dangerous creatures, baby elephants usually aren’t too far away from momma at any given time, and if you mess with baby, you’re going to have momma hot on your trail.

In elephant groups, though, it’s not just mom who keeps an eye on her little one. Herds of elephants are usually made up of female elephants.

It’s a matriarchy, where all of them protect the babies. When danger presents itself, they circle up and put the most vulnerable members of their herd — usually babies or mothers giving birth — in the middle of the circle.

They’re almost human-like in their compassion, and this video of a herd of elephants crossing the river illustrates that.

The clip starts off scanning a line of pachyderms in the roiling, muddy waters. The water is unusually high, but fortunately that’s no threat to the full-grown members of the herd, who wade through it easily.

However, one little guy (or gal) is up to its trunk in the river, trying desperately to keep up with mom. It makes it most of the way across, but then loses its hold and starts flailing downriver.

A nearby elephant notices the struggling baby and rushes through the turbulence to stop the baby from being swept away.

Using its trunk and body, the elephant manages to catch the baby and keep it pinned against a sandbar, but the water is too strong and the bank is too far away for the adult elephant to get the baby out of the river.

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Mom, who’d already made it to shore and was waiting, sees what’s happening and quickly backs her way into the rushing river.

While the two adult elephants were safe enough, the little one was at risk of being lost forever. Between the two adults, though, the baby was eventually ushered to shore.

While the baby is being rescued, other members of the herd watch, ears flapping, and some of them venture back into the river to assist in the rescue.

Watching these animals and their support for one another is beautiful. We could learn a thing or two from their example!

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