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Elephant rescued out of a muddy grave

Elephant rescued out of a muddy grave

Elephant rescued out of a muddy grave

A young elephant calf made global headlines after getting himself stuck in mud on the marshy edges of the Zambezi near Kazungula in November.

The young bull, only about five years old, was spotted by guests and guides from Imbabala Lodge, having been trapped overnight, up to his neck in deep mud. Fortunately for this youngster, lodge managers Bradley and Annelize White were on hand to organise a team effort to rescue him from this sticky grave.

Using over 200 litres of water, the team watered down the elephant, keeping him cool under the hot sun and helping to loosen the rapidly drying mud. The team where able to gently manoeuvre the animal into a position where they could haul him free of the mud with the controlled power of a Land Cruiser, without risk of damaging his spine or legs.

His story was quickly picked up on social media and online blogs, and appeared in the New York , London, and Australian press. Although very young, he is able to look after himself, and he has been seen around the lodge since, where his rescuers are keeping an eye on him. The hope is that he may yet be reunited with his maternal herd, but as time passes this looks increasingly unlikely.

Over the years the Imbabala team have rescued several elephant and buffalo from these dangerous natural mud traps, and almost certain death. Without their help this young elephant’s life would almost certainly have come to a premature end.

In October it was reported that Parks rangers had discovered 25 dead buffalo trapped in mud along the Zambezi River near Kazungula. A total of 13 adults and 12 calves were found, although some of the herd had escaped.

Read more articles from this issue:
Zambezi Traveller (Issue 11, Dec 2012)

Read more about the region in our destination guide:
Victoria Falls