Elephants Rescue Calf Stranded In River

by : Emily Brown on : 26 Sep 2018 12:23
Elephants rescue calf from riverElephants rescue calf from riverAsiaWire

Elephants are known for their close family ties and intelligence, and one group of elephants displayed their compassion when they teamed up to rescue a calf who had become stuck in a river. 


The three elephants rushed to help the small animal who was struggling against the current and had become submerged beneath the fast flowing water.

The helpless calf had been trying to cross the river, but ended up being washed downstream.

Take a look at the elephants’ clever rescue here:


According to National Geographic the Asian elephant – or Elephas maximus, if we’re being scientific – is slightly smaller than its African cousin.

The fully grown elephants in the video were obviously large enough to handle the ranging waters of river, but the little calf had a harder time.

The baby Asian elephant had been following its mum and the rest of its herd across the muddy Manlao River when the torrent became too much for it to handle.

Elephants rescue calf from riverElephants rescue calf from riverAsiaWire

The little elephant could be seen being swept out of the camera’s view as the murky water overpowered it.

The footage was captured earlier this month by wildlife observers as the herd moved across the river in the town of Kangping, which is in Jiangcheng Hani and Yi autonomous county in south-western China’s Yunnan province.

After successfully making it halfway across the river, the calf became separated from the herd. Its mother moved quickly to chase after the struggling calf, but the gentle giant wasn’t able to stop her baby from being carried downstream.


Two other members of the herd joined in the pursuit and strode through the river to catch up with the baby elephant.

Elephant Voices explains the way elephants work together when it comes to caring for offspring:

Members of a family show extraordinary teamwork and are highly cooperative in group defence, resource acquisition, offspring care, and decision-making.

One of the larger elephants used its trunk to try and steady the baby creature before managing to get in front of it and prevent it from floating further down the river.

The three adults worked together to block the calf from the flowing water, though at one point the calf got caught in the stream and started to move further down the river again.

Thankfully the mother managed to intercept this time and caught the calf before it went too far. The group huddled together and swiftly moved towards the riverbank on the other side until the members of the herd were safely in the long grass at the side of the water.

Social media users were relieved to see the little animal make it to the other side of the river, especially after the intense rescue mission which took place.

One viewer wrote:

The calf must’ve been so scared. Luckily mum and his aunties were around to help.

The elephants showed some incredible teamwork in rescuing the helpless little calf!


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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Animals, Viral Video


National Geographic and 1 other
  1. National Geographic

    Asian Elephant

  2. Elephant Voices

    Elephants are socially complex