In a breathtaking race against time, a young elephant was miraculously pulled from the clutches of a dangerous mud pool after enduring over 12 hours of confinement.
The juvenile bull, discovered by safari tourists along Africa’s Zambezi River, was alarmingly immersed in mud up to its neck.
The urgency of the situation became evident upon the rescue team’s arrival. The tiny titan was struggling to release its trunk, teetering on the edge of suffocation.
Bradley White and his wife Annelize, proprietors of the neighboring Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, received an SOS call.
The couple rushed to the scene without hesitation, assembling a team to aid in the harrowing rescue.
The team was met with several unsuccessful attempts to free the creature from its muddy prison before finally liberating it. White speculated that the baby elephant had probably fallen into the trap the previous evening.
The young pachyderm’s survival beyond 12 hours was nothing short of a miracle, as it wouldn’t have endured much longer.
White elaborated, “These mud traps are particularly enticing for elephants as they move towards the abundant greenery.
Unfortunately, they often sink deep into the mud, leading to dehydration and a halt in blood circulation to their legs.”
He added, “Without intervention, these helpless animals face a grim fate, either succumbing to their circumstances or falling prey to predators like vultures or hyenas, drawn by their panicked calls for help.”
The rescue operation saw the team using 200 liters of water to mitigate the hardening mud around the baby elephant and to keep it cool under the blazing sun.
White recounted the tricky extraction process, “We had to ensure a careful pull, avoiding injury to the elephant’s legs which were solidly lodged in fast-drying clay.
Our initial approach was manual, aligning him correctly for an easier recovery with a vehicle.”
Safeguarding the animal’s wellbeing was paramount, “We secured the rope around his strong neck to avoid the risk of a leg injury. After his release, we acted swiftly to help him regain his footing, enabling blood circulation.”
They achieved this by manually lifting him using towing straps under his belly. Though still a little shaken, the young elephant is currently doing well and has shown the ability to fend for himself.
Nonetheless, he remains under the vigilant watch of the Whites to prevent any future predicaments.