By Christina Wood
This video shows how dangers lurk all around for baby elephants as a young calf panics when it gets stuck while playing in a mud bath – even nearly getting sat on by its mum.
Corne van Tonder was enjoying a sunset cruise on the Chobe River in Botswana, Africa, this summer when he spotted 12 elephants cross to an island and began rolling around in a mud bath.
The 40-year-old was just over five metres away from the animals when he spotted a baby become stuck in the deep mud and quickly began filming.
Footage shows the calf’s oblivious mother almost squash her tiny baby as she too struggles to get up the river bank, while the youngster squeals with frustration as it keeps sinking in the mud.
Corne, from Brakpan, in South Africa, said: “I love watching and photographing elephants. There is so much going on when there is a herd of elephants. As big as they are they are so gentle and caring with each other.
“They were taking turns rolling around in the mud pit. The mum and baby went in and the little one got stuck and started complaining and the mum almost sat on him.
“The baby elephant wasn’t in any pain. He was just stuck in the mud and his mum wasn’t great help at the time as she was struggling as well.
“The elephants swam through the Chobe River to get to the island. They cross the river on a daily basis to go grazing on the island. All the elephants left the mud pit at the same time.
“They have a very close knit family and the aunts, siblings and grandmother are always there for support. There are quite big crocodiles in the river and lying on the banks.
“I think the herd of elephants enjoy slipping and sliding in the mud because it helps them to cool down and get rid of parasites as the mud dries. The young ones enjoy playing in the mud and water.
“When I started traveling around Southern Africa I wanted to share my experiences with friends and family. When people see where I go and what I see it makes them want to travel and explore our neighbouring countries.”
The electrical technician has been capturing wildlife photography and videos for five years and says that Botswana, in southern Africa, is his favourite spot for taking amazing footage.
Corne said: “The conservation areas are vast and having no fences lets the animals get close to you. You have nature unfold in front of you. You can quickly fill up a memory card at a waterhole.
“You get to travel into the Chobe reserve and experience nature from the water and if you lucky you get to see herds of elephants swim across the river to the island.
“My favourite place to photograph and film wildlife is in Southern Africa as we are spoiled for choice. Kruger National Park is good but Botswana is by far the best for me.
“The ultimate place for me to visit to photograph would be the Maasai Mara in Kenya and Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania.
“I would love to travel through Africa in my four-by-four. There is so much to take in and appreciate in Africa.”