The first experience is never easy: The baby elephant extended all four legs and trunk into the air as he crossed a slope with his mother and was assisted by the mother elephant.

A little elephant is clinging on to its mother’s trunk as it tries to climb up a steep bank – but slips through its mothers grasp and end up with all four legs and trunk flailing in the air.

The youngster had been lifted into the air by his mum when he struggled to scale the tricky obstacle but fell into the dust rather unceremoniouslty.

Eventually, it stumbled back up on its feet and the mother elephant led it to a smaller and more manageable part of the bank to climb.

Rumble tumble: The calf is falling with its legs in the air helplessly looking up towards its mother

The extraordinary scene was captured on camera by Brit Mark Bowler in the Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa.

Mr Bowler, a conservation biologist from Edinburgh, Scotland, was just two feet away when the calf fell.

The 37-year-old said: ‘There were about 50 in the herd. They were running as they crossed the road and went up the bank, which was about waist high.

‘The babies struggled to get over and the mothers started to get a bit concerned – there was lots of deep rumbling and ear flapping going on.

The little calf reach for its mother as she wraps her trunk around it to carry it up the bank when it struggled to scale the tricky obstacle.

Slipping: Even with its mothers extra help, the little elephant calf loses its footing and slides down the bank

‘I admit I was scared but there was nowhere I could go – my car was surrounded.

‘There was a very small elephant, which needed help getting up the bank. The mother tried pulling the calf up from the top but she then dropped it.

‘At one point the baby was with all four legs in the air, mouth open and trunk flailing. It was certainly struggling but after it fell the mood seemed to change and it looked sulky rather than excited.



The calf looks a bit dazed as he lays in the dirt after falling over following his climbing. The scene was captured in Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa.

‘After this the mother became more concerned with comforting her offspring than the rush to get up the bank.

‘She eventually changed her tactics and led the baby to a less steep route.’

He added: ‘It all happened very fast and the adrenaline was pumping. I have never seen anything quite the same before or since.

‘I can almost feel the deep rumble and my own heart rate going up even when I look at the images now.’

After giving up on pulling her baby up the bank, the mother steps down and takes the calf around to an easier route