By Michael Scot
Elephants never forget – except for this panicked calf that has completely forgotten where his mum is.
During a mass Christmas gathering of elephant herds in South Africa’s Addo Elephant National Park, this young male completely lost his mum.
Even though she had quickly turned around to get a drink, the manic crowd of 150 elephants caused the poor youngster to become disoriented.
Weaving in and out of hefty adult legs, the calf panicked for several minutes before being flooded with relief when he finally found his mum again.
The photos were taken by Ayesha Cantor, 50, who lives in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
She said: “I was visiting Addo Elephant National Park just before Christmas, and I stopped at Hapoor waterhole as I could see elephants in their numbers moving towards the thick spekboom bush towards it.
“It felt like a reunion of multiple elephant families was going down, as if they were getting together for the Christmas holidays.
“Family groups usually number around 22 elephants, each with a matriarch, and there were around 150 elephants in total.
“There must have been at least six or seven family groups surrounding my car and waterhole.
“There were a lot of happy rumblings and excited trumpets and squeals, especially between the little ones.
“Dust, noise and funky smells were all around us. It was no wonder we saw one little guy who had lost his mum.
“She was actually not far away. Her back was turned away from all the drama so she could quench her thirst.
“I didn’t immediately realise he was lost – I was just photographing a cute elephant calf.
“But once I saw he couldn’t find his mum, my heart went out to the little guy. I was worried he might be trampled beneath the mass of moving big feet or that an older bull might harm him. They can be quite horrible to young calves when the opportunity presents itself.
“It looked like he was just too panicked to be vocal. Possibly he was trying his hardest to hear his mum’s familiar tummy rumbles.
“But oh boy, when he eventually caught sight of her, a right telling off ensued. He was positively yelling at her for losing him, and then he was trumpeting his relief and joy to be reunited with his mum again.
“To see wild animals so loving and comforting is nothing short of amazing.
“It’s unbelievably heart warming to experience this very personal and deeply moving moment. This is why I live in Africa.”