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rescue; elephant rescue;
Photo by Harshil Gudka on Unsplash

Rescue of an elephant and her calf.

We're normally taught to leave nature alone, especially concerning animals big enough to maul or trample us or generally make surviving an encounter an odds game. But sometimes those wild animals need us, and this intense video of veterinarians in Thailand rescuing an elephant and her calf prove just that. On a rainy day in Thailand, a mama elephant and her baby got stuck in a drain before rescuers could get them out.


Elephants are the world's largest land animal, have memories that are uncanny and mourn loss in a very human way. In fact, African elephants have been observed standing vigil as they mourn a herd member that has died. This human-like mourning may be what draws people to the large majestic animal, and that’s a good thing because about 90% of African elephants have been killed in the last century due to the ivory trade. Asian elephants’ numbers are also declining as they lose their habitat to human infrastructure.

Seeing people work together to get the mama elephant breathing and rescue her baby from the drain brings about a whole different level of heartwarming. The veterinarians don’t hesitate to climb up on top of the massive animal and use their team's whole weight to give it CPR. It’s magnificent to see. Until this video, I didn’t even know elephants could receive CPR.

After a few attempts to get the mama’s heart beating, it finally worked. We see the mama and baby snuggling together as the team of humans backs away and watches with joy and exhaustion.

Photo: Jason DeCrow for United Nations Foundation

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