Elephant rescues calf from hyenas
By Jo Sayer
THIS is the moment a protective mother elephant fought off a pack of savage hyenas attacking her calf.
During the bloody encounter with up to 18 hyenas the vulnerable baby - who had been momentarily separated from the herd - had its tail BITTEN OFF.
The distressed youngster was photographed cowering under its mother as the snarling beasts continued to circle.
A startled safari group – alerted to the sound of shrieking elephants - witnessed the furious mum stampede the snarling pack, repeatedly kicking out her feet and swinging her trunk to disperse them.
Several trees were left uprooted in her wake.
The brutal confrontation took place in the Linyanti bush, Botswana and began when 18 hyenas surrounded two female elephants and their babies, before a smaller group managed to separate one of the calves.
While the mother charged them, the larger pack pounced on the lone baby and proceeded to bite and claw at it whilst jumping on its back.
Guide James Weis, of the tour company Eyes of Africa, witnessed the angry elephant's mothering instinct kick in as it leapt to the defence of its child.
James, 50, recalls “It wasn’t alone for more than 10 seconds when the mother returned and was even more angry.
They were playing a dangerous game because had one hyena got in the way of her it would have been flung through the air like a beanbag.
She charged after the pack and was knocking over trees like they were matchsticks and the hyenas fled and scattered in a cloud of dust kicked up by the mother.”
Despite losing its tail, the baby elephant lived to fight another day.