Two baby elephants have been rescued after falling into a muddy waterhole during a s..ev.ere d.rought in Zimbabwe.
The elephants, Tess and Mana, were discovered by wildlife photographer Jens Cullmann at Mana Pools National Park last month and she alerted the ‘Wild is life’ animal sanctuary.
Ropes and shovels were used by members of the charity, locals and a veterinarian, who took around half a day to free the two s.tricken animals.
The elephants were given i.n..travenous drips for their dehydration after being hauled out of the ground and then loaded onto a plane to be flown to the Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery.
Ms Cullmann, 50, said she believed the pair had become stuck after trying to get water and were too w.eak to escape from the mud.
One of the baby elephants grips a rescuer’s leg with its trunk after it became stuck in the mud at the Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe, at the beginning of last month. It took rescuers around half a day to haul them out of the mud and they were treated before being loaded onto a plane
Members of the ‘Wild is life’ animal sanctuary and a veterinarian worked to haul the baby elephants out of the mud. A newborn elephant usually weighs around 20 stone, though it is not clear exactly how old the pair were
Rescuers use a branch with a rope tied to it as a lever to extract the elephant from the mud. Wild is life wrote on Instagram: ‘Thanks to all who helped on the ground with these rescues. Great to see caring Zimbabweans who are trying to make a difference to the souls with whom they live. Thank you, one and all!’
Men pull on a rope which was passed underneath the elephant and the mud. The animals had sustained some i.n..j.uries which the rescuers believed were caused by hyenas
One of the rescue teams holds an i.n..travenous drip for the elephant (left) and rescuers pulling on a rope to free one of the elephants (right). The region has suffered a serious drought
The rescuers give water to one of the s.e..v.erely dehydrated elephants after it was saved from the mud. Jens Cullmann, 50, a wildlife photographer from Germany said: ‘It was quite emotional and devastating to see so many animals s.uffer – elephants especially since they are in a way very “human”‘
Some of the rescuers pulled the elephants while others pushed. Both of them had been injured, the rescuers believed by hyenas, and had to be treated for the w.ounds before being flown onward.
The two babies are now recovering and are said to be enjoying life at the Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery.
Ms Pullmann said: ‘It’s been a very different stay in Mana Pools this year compared to the last years – I’ve been there every year for the past nine years now and I’ve never seen a drought like this one.
‘It was quite emotional and devastating to see so many animals suffer – elephants especially since they are in a way very “human”.
The baby elephants were given i.ntravenous drips to help them re-hydrate and then flown to Wild is life’s Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery. The nursery was established in 2012 by Roxy Danckwerts. It is currently made up of two projects, the Nursery in Harare and the Re-wilding facility in Victoria Falls.
Rescue workers are covered in mud as they prepare an i.ntravenous drip for one of the elephants which lies e.xhausted on the baked mud. The Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery is generously supported by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) who have partnered with ZEN to ensure the long term sustainability of the project
The elephants were loaded onto the back of a truck and transported to a waiting plane so they could be transferred to the elephant nursery. The photographer said: ‘It must have happened in the night before – I was at this time in this area every day and I would have noticed it. ‘When I found them, the elephants had already i.n..j.uries, probably from hyenas.’
One of the baby elephants has a rag draped over its eyes to keep it calm while the rescue workers use shovels and ropes to extract it from the mud
Rescue workers pass a rope underneath the elephant’s belly as they prepare to haul it from the muddy patch in the dried out lake
Rescue workers prepare to load the elephants onto a plane so that it can be transported to the Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery
‘It must have happened in the night before – I was at this time in this area every day and I would have noticed it.
‘When I found them, the elephants had already i.n.jur.ies, probably from hyenas.
‘After I’ve witnessed elephants d..y.ing and seeing lonely babies wandering around by themselves, it was really good that we were able to do something as well, to help saving them, it makes you feel a little less powerless.’
The elephants were carted to a nearby runway so they could be shipped off for more recovery at the Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery
The baby elephants Tess and Mana (third and fourth from left) at the Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery after they were rescued last month