A distressed elephant tries to protect her unconscious baby in a heartbreaking display of motherly love.
The dramatic footage shows a calf being darted by a compassionate veterinary team after it was injured by a poacher’s snare.
The traumatic scenes took place at the Olaro Motorogi Conservancy in southwest Kenya, after a call came through reporting a calf dragging a snare on his hind leg.
But when the SkyVets from David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Kenya Wildlife Service tried to treat the 2-year-old, the protective mother tried to rouse her baby from the anaesthetic – before also being darted to ensure her parental instincts did not interfere with the rescue effort.
Rob Brandford, Executive Director of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (UK), spoke about the emotional footage, which was shot in October of last year.
‘The mother was extremely protective of her baby and without putting her under anaesthetic too, the SkyVet could not have safely intervened,’ explains Rob.
‘With their herd waiting anxiously nearby, there was a need to act as quickly as possible.
‘The snare was quickly removed from the calf’s leg using a wire cutter. Thankfully, it had not cut through the skin and did not cause injury.’
And Rob revealed that the baby could have been severely injured if not for the quick actions of the rescue team.
He said: ‘In recent years SkyVet and our other mobile vet units have treated several elephants suffering from horrendous wounds caused by snares that have slowly tightened after time, cutting into their feet and legs.
‘Fortunately, this baby was found quickly and soon released back to the herd – fully recovered and reunited with his mother. It’s a happy ending for this family – and a story of hope for a species being hard-hit by ivory poaching.’