Pair of elephants save calf from drowning

This incident, which must have happened yesterday, is going viral. The video shows two Indian elephants saving a drowning baby who fell into a pool in a Seoul zoo; they do it by working together to push the baby into the shallow end. There’s simply no doubt about their intentions. Sure, nature can be cruel, but it also can be kind.


  1. Posted June 20, 2017 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Oh, you meant a baby ELEPHANT!

    • GBJames
      Posted June 20, 2017 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      Tripped me up, too!

      • Wunold
        Posted June 20, 2017 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        Me too.

    • Pierluigi Ballabeni
      Posted June 21, 2017 at 6:31 am | Permalink

      Sorry about my interfering with the English language, which is not the one I know best, but the title of the post says calf. 🙂

  2. Posted June 20, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    It’s more amazing that the other elephant came to the rescue

  3. Posted June 20, 2017 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    The third elephant in the background (in enclosure) going nuts during the incident.

    • ladyatheist
      Posted June 20, 2017 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      I noticed that too. I bet he would have joined in.

  4. darrelle
    Posted June 20, 2017 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Fascinating. Hard to doubt their intelligence or emotions when you things like this (supposing you were inclined to). Behaviorally that scene could not be distinguished from the same event involving humans.

    • Posted June 20, 2017 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      Yep. Including the frantic can’t-do-anything helpful-because-he’s-blocked bull* in the back ground. We can imagine and feel the frustration he must have felt at the distress of the baby and the other elephants.

      *? I see tusks and female Asian usually lack them.

      • Posted June 20, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

        Oh dear. That’s ripe for misuse. I meant; “…female Asian elephants…”

  5. rickflick
    Posted June 20, 2017 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Interesting how quickly the adults determined a strategy after just a few seconds of panic.

    I would have been nice to have audio of the event. I wonder if the almost instant reaction of the male was triggered by the sound of splashing or was a response to calls from the baby or mom.

  6. Posted June 20, 2017 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    What is the deal with the music on these things? Half of the videos i watch these days have music that makes you want to hit the mute button!

    • Posted June 20, 2017 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

      That’s why I keep the computer mute except in rare moments when I want it to make noise.

      • Posted June 21, 2017 at 10:22 am | Permalink

        Me too. I have enough noise in my life!

  7. Posted June 20, 2017 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    When I see stories like these I think of Christians who are offended when told they are animals, or related to them. I prefer to be related to animals, than many humans.

    • Posted June 20, 2017 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      Me too.

      • Posted June 20, 2017 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

        Me three.

        • Craw
          Posted June 20, 2017 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

          Some lions eat the offspring of the male they have driven off.

          • friendlypig
            Posted June 21, 2017 at 5:27 am | Permalink

            Waste not, want not!

            • friendlypig
              Posted June 21, 2017 at 5:28 am | Permalink

              Or, want not, waste not!

    • Stephen Mynett
      Posted June 21, 2017 at 6:53 am | Permalink

      I can imagine there are a few animals not too pleased about being related to Christians.

  8. Posted June 20, 2017 at 5:56 pm | Permalink


    I am curious though about the elephant’s gait at 00:38. I can’t tell if the animal stumbles or purposely lowers the limb to gain purchase in order to nudge the other elephant in the right direction.


    • rickflick
      Posted June 20, 2017 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      gain purchase? Get a grip.

  9. Cap
    Posted June 20, 2017 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    The most amazing part of this is how the other elephant almost immediately reacted and ran over to help.

    • Posted June 20, 2017 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

      The second elephant seemed to have a better idea what to do than the first did.

      • Posted June 20, 2017 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

        It does look that way. So what we have is one animal noticing not only the problem of the calf but also noticing the other adult’s behavior needs help in order to effect a rescue.



        • R.Eady
          Posted June 21, 2017 at 8:04 am | Permalink

          Mike, Did you check out the replay @ about 00:50? The gait anomaly appears to be in control…Almost like an athletic stretch.

          This also occurred after the ‘sub-tonal vibrational trunk chat’ . . . As Ecologist Caitlin O’Connell noted there’s a lot of synchronicity with elephants with respect to feet and trunk. In her research she points out that synchronized freezing & precisely coordinated movement is common even among herds of 20 or more elephants.

          O’Connell writes, “Bulls often lay their trunks on the ground when freezing. We think they may be using them as tools to detect vibrations in the earth.”

          (O’Connell has consistently noticed an inexplicable listening behavior — as if elephants could “hear” the ground — and chronicled it in her nature documentary turned prose: The Elephant’s Secret Sense she notes, “synchronized freezing & remaining motionless appears to enable the animals to focus a very special sense to detect vibrations in the earth.”)

  10. Posted June 22, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    I think elephants are a great case study in interacting with an “alien” intelligence.

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