Truck Drivers Stop To Help Thirsty Baby Elephant By The Side Of The Road
She was not even 3 weeks old.
Some truck drivers were on their way through Botswana last weekend when a baby elephant popped out of the bushes by the side of the road.
The drivers, from AfriAg transport company in Johannesburg, South Africa, had stopped because of a downed bridge in their path when the baby elephant appeared, seeming to ask them for help.
The men approached the tiny elephant cautiously. As they got closer, they realized she seemed terribly thirsty, so they let her drink from one of their own water bottles.
And even though the men scanned the horizon, neither the baby's mother nor his herd was anywhere in sight.
The truck drivers knew they had to do something more than just give the roughly 3-week-old elephant a drink of water. So they loaded her into their truck and, after the bridge was fixed, they dropped her off at a nearby sanctuary, Elephant Sands.
And Botswana is a good place to be for a baby like her. "In our opinion Botswana as a whole has one of the most remarkable, ethical and compassionate wildlife conservation strategies in the world," Paul Oxton, founder and director of Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation, told The Dodo.
Indeed, the country recently banned elephant riding and has taken real steps to conserve elephants and their habitat, serving as a model for other countries.
"Because of the efficacy of the nationwide strategy, we trust that this baby will get the very best treatment and care possible," Oxton explained.
So even though the baby lost her mom at such a young age, she's in good hands - but she still has a long way to go.
"Baby elephants are notoriously fragile," Oxton said. "Even if she's treated very well and appears to be strong at first, it might still be a long road before it can be claimed that she has fully recovered."
Because elephant populations have plummeted in recent years due to habitat loss and poaching for ivory, every single elephant counts for the survival of the species.
We're rooting for this little girl.
To help save other baby elephants in Botswana, you can donate to the Water for Elephants Trust.
Update: The elephant is now at Elephants without Borders and "doing very well," according to Chantelle Beyleveld, a friend of the rescuers who posted the video and photos of the rescue on Facebook, in an email to The Dodo. "Carlos, one of the drivers who helped, told me that she was so thirsty that she drank nearly 30 liters of water ... My reason for posting [the photos and video] was to show the people that truckers also have a heart and will go out of their way to help."
Correction: A previous version of this article said the elephant was taken to the Botswana Elephant Sanctuary. The baby was actually brought to Elephant Sands and the Water for Elephants Trust, before being transferred to Elephants without Borders, according to a source from Elephant Sands. A previous version of this article also suggested the baby was a boy - she's actually a girl.