A brave baby elephant protected its injured mother by chasing away vets who arrived to help.
The female jumbo collapsed in the middle of a rubber plantation in Chanthaburi province, Thailand, in the early hours of Sunday morning (Feb 28).
Passing local Deaw Phonpalad, 44, was tapping rubber trees at sunrise when he saw the jumbo sprawled on the ground and called for help.
Wildlife officers at the Khao Ang Ruanai reserve arrived to save the injured animal but her overly protective baby son prevented them from getting near the mother.
Footage shows the three-year-old jumbo frantically running around its mother to defend her against the strangers.
Chief wildlife marshall Peerasak Sanan from the Kaeng Hang Maew district said: ‘Soldiers from the Army Rangers Forces Regiment 1306 arrived to investigate with national park staff.
‘The team was unable to observe the symptoms of the wild elephant because the baby was still in a ferocious state. We believe he was still anxious that other wild elephants were nearby and that they could attack. He was afraid of leaving his mother alone.’
The wildlife boss said that the elephant was too weak to stand up. While the baby elephant stopped people from getting close, its mother then made a loud trumpeting sound to scare away onlookers.
The rescuers feared that the injured mother – believed to be 13 to 15 years old – could be dehydrated in the hot weather so they used a fire truck to spray water on the elephant to help it cool down.
After they were doused her with water, the vets threw some bananas which the baby took and ate. Soon after, the rescuers shot the baby elephant with a tranquilizer gun so they could check the health of its mother.
They then prepared the cage to secure the baby while the frightened mother cried aggressively.
The team used a backhoe loader to get the mother off the ground before veterinarians performed checkups.
However, the medics still could not ascertain what caused its injuries, but her symptoms included fatigue and diarrhea.
They gave the elephant a saline solution IV drip to prevent her from being dehydrated and injected her with some vitamins to help the recovery.
Vets were still treating the mother elephant in the same position today (Mon) while its baby was secured nearby in an enclosure hastily made from tree branches.
The chief wildlife marshall added: ‘Three vets are analysing the injuries of the mother elephant. There is no clear sign of what caused the injuries, so anything else is speculation.
‘More solution has been given to the mother and we hope that she will respond positively and show signs that her condition is improving. She did not sleep all night and is very weak.
‘The medical team is doing their best. We can only support them with supplies, drinking water, fuel and generators.’