It was a seemingly ordinary day when Johan Bezuidenhout and Quenton du Plessis heard the cries of a baby elephant in one of Palabora Copper’s holding dams in Limpopo, South Africa. It is believed that the severe drought might have prompted the elephant’s family to search for water in the area.
The elephant, now named Amanzi because of his penchant for water, got separated from his herd after being trapped in the narrow drain. This video shows the two workers using all their might to pull the terrified creature out of the drain. Although young, Amanzi cooperated by using his trunk to support his weight while being rescued.
Amanzi would have drowned if his cries remained unheard. Rescue group Elephants Alive claimed that there were elephant tracks surrounding the drain. The tracks indicate that members of the herd also tried to help the baby. There’s a possibility that they have left upon sensing the arrival of the rescuers.
After being freed, Wildlife Supervisor Johan McDonald attempted to reintroduce Amanzi to nearby herds. The attempts were unsuccessful, and Elephants Alive was eventually called to help Amanzi, who appeared to be severely dehydrated.
[Image via Elephants Alive/Facebook]
Program Manager Dr. Michelle Henley supervised the traumatized elephant’s critical trip to the hospital. Amanzi was doused with water all throughout the trip. He was given urgent medical care at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center.
The group continues to post updates on Facebook about the little fellow’s health.
“We are pleased to announce that Amanzi has improved a bit since yesterday. He is back on his bottle and is looking less weak. We will post more photos tomorrow as he needs the rest and we don’t want to unduly stress him. After a long battle, his formula is on its way!”
Milk is vital in the survival of orphaned elephants, especially those who are in their most sensitive stage — the first year. Rescuing and raising elephant calves is challenging because they are naturally dependent on their mother’s milk for the first two years. They only get fully weaned upon reaching the age of four or five. Groups typically use a formula consisting of human milk powder, emulsified vegetable fats, and other additives depending on the elephant calf’s age.
A baby elephant playing with his mother [Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images]
The costs that come with storing and transporting the milk are not cheap, and that’s why most wildlife groups depend on donations from people who want to give innocent animals a second chance at life. The Victoria Walls Wildlife Trust estimates that at least $ 6,000 is needed annually to feed an orphaned baby elephant. The cost does not include the keepers’ wages.
Recent funds collected by Elephants Alive did not only go to Amanzi’s feeding program but also to the transportation of two adult elephants who are in need of utmost care.
“We would like to thank all of you who have opened your hearts in support of our LIVE ON! campaign. The campaign started with the aim to try and cover the costs for the translocation of the two big bulls by truck back into the Reserve they had escaped from. Then we ended up also transporting little Amanzi to Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre and needed funds to support his feeding program.”
Elephants Alive aims to ensure the survival of elephants. Unprecedented levels of poaching in various areas continue to threaten the species. The group also encourages people to take part in “promoting mindfulness and accountability” when it comes to wildlife.[Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images]