In the bushes to our right, we saw a mother elephant followed by her little one. They were moving slowly to cross the road right in front of us. As they approached, we started thinking that something wasn’t right. What we saw next left us completely astonished!
The little elephant couldn’t move his back legs. He put all his weight and movement on his front legs, dragging his back legs along. The legs were paralyzed. We watched without moving and without saying a word.
The mother crossed the road. The little elephant followed with a massive effort, leaving a dirt trail behind him. When he reached the other side, he still had to take a step up off the road. He stopped as if he thought it was too hard.
His mother turned around and looked at him. She approached him and stretched her trunk, gently touching him, as if she was saying “come on, you can do it!”.
Feeling his mother’s support, the little one made a huge effort and took that “giant” step, getting off the road. He slowly followed his mother using just his front legs…
At this point, I couldn’t stop the tears from running down my cheeks… it was the most powerful display of determination I had ever seen. I witnessed the power of survival of these great animals. It would have been easier for the mother to abandon the little one and stay with her group, but the little elephant showed so much courage.
We moved on, but none of us spoke a single word for quite a while. Everyone was in emotional recovery. The Serengeti is a magical place and we had just witnessed one of its finest moments.