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Baby elephant attacked by crocodile in Kruger Park South Africa

A baby elephant was saved by its herd after being caught by the trunk by a crocodile

Baby elephant
The moment a crocodile pounces on the young elephant, hoping for a kill by locking its jaws around its trunk
Photo: Johan Opperman/Solent News

The scene was captured by amateur photographer Johan Opperman while taking pictures of a family of African bush elephants grazing by a water hole and cooling down.

Under the watchful eye of its family, the young elephant headed to the edge of the waterhole to grab a drink.

However, a crocodile pounced on the youngster, hoping for a kill by locking its jaws around its trunk.

Hearing the baby's distress calls, the herd of elephants scared off the reptile by trumpeting and stamping around.
After the attack the herd stayed with the youngster.

Once the herd decided all was well, they crossed the dam together, just meters from where the crocodile had been hiding. Mr. Opperman, from Pretoria, in South Africa, captured the incredible moment while on a day trip in the country's Kruger National Park.

The 38 year-old said: "The elephants were just grazing in the area, drinking water and cooling down - typical elephant behaviour.

"The crocodile grabbed the baby elephant and made an attempted kill - it was hoping for a nice lunch with elephant on the menu. "From a couple of experts, I've heard that this is however very rare, and that crocodiles do not normally try to catch elephants.

"When the crocodile got hold of the baby elephant, the whole herd of elephants first went crazy, running around and trumpeting, and then proceeded to come to the rescue of the baby elephant. "After it was saved, all the elephants of the herd stayed around the baby elephant for a while, making sure that it was okay. "The ones coming to the rescue were most probably female, especially the matriarch female.

"I did not realise exactly what I managed to catch on film until I got to my holiday resort that night and looked through the photos on my computer. "The screen on digital cameras is not the greatest and made it hard to see the details of what was captured.

"When the 'action' started, I just started clicking away in typical amateur fashion, hoping to get at least something. "It was quite a surprise to later see on the larger computer monitor that I actually managed to get one photo of the crocodile pulling on the elephant."

Elephant herd
PANIC breaking out all over the herd and the older elephants rushing to the rescue
Photo: Johan Opperman/Solent News

Elephant herd
The herd is comforting the baby elephant after the crocodile was scared away
Photo: Johan Opperman/Solent News

Elephant herd
Photo: Johan Opperman/Solent News