When a baby elephant found herself stuck in a muddy watering hole at the Aboseli National Park in Kenya, researchers and park rangers rushed to try and rescue the calf.
According to ATE's bntawuasa's blog, researchers with the Amboseli Trust for Elephants (ATE) received word of the 8 month old calf's predicament early enough in the morning that rescuers had time to reach the calf prior to other wildlife coming to the area to feed.
Although she was a baby and too small to climb out of the hole herself, the calf was too large for rescuers to lift out of the hole. Amboseli Trust for Elephants' Vicki Fishlock used her Land Rover to force the calf's mother away from the hole so rescuers could reach the stranded elephant. After more then a half hour, rescuers were able to finally get a rope about the calf and slowly pull her out of the hole.
The watering hole is a man-made well with approximately a foot of water in the bottom. It was dug by the Masai tribesmen who live around Amboseli National Park. This incident, and a similar incident the very next day, shows the increasing problem of human-animal conflict in the area.
The ATE was founded in 1972. Under the guidance of Cynthia Moss and her research team, the trust strives to ensure the "long-term conservation and welfare of Africa's elephants in the context of human needs and pressures through scientific research, training, community outreach, public awareness and advocacy," according to the ATE website.
The African elephant population has been steadily declining over the last 4 decades. The population in Amboseli National Park however is one of the few able to live a relatively undisturbed existence in natural conditions. This is mainly due to the ATE researchers and the support of the local Masai people.
After the rescue, Fishlock told the Christian Science Monitor:
"Relief! Rescues where family members are around are stressful, and I'm always happy when everyone is safely back in the cars. And I have to admit that the reunions always bring a tear to my eye. The intensity of their affection for each other is one of the things that makes elephants so special."