It’s a familiar scene: an adventurous infant takes a tumble before being helped back up by the grown-ups.
But it makes for a rather more arresting sight when the little one is a baby elephant.
The calf fell into a river near a dam after losing its balance and ended up completely submerged in the water before a remarkable rescue effort took place.
First, an elder wrapped its trunk tightly around the baby’s own, before a second elephant jumped in to push the stricken calf to safety.
Photographer Gwen Rea, who captured the heartwarming moment in South Africa, said: ‘It was late afternoon and I was getting ready to leave when I looked up and saw this baby elephant that had slipped into the water.
‘The area is dry and water levels low, thus the embankment is too high and steep for the babies there. Immediately, another elephant tried to pull him out by his trunk.
‘I was in such a panic and at the same time trying to take photos, while looking for a number to dial the rangers and shouting to people in a nearby car to call the authorities.
‘The herd gathered together to help when one jumped into the water. At one stage I saw the baby go right under but the lifesaver got under him and lifted him out while others in the herd assisted.’
Mrs Rea, 64, who was at Hapoor Dam near the Addo Elephant Park in the Eastern Cape, added: ‘I cheered and applauded the hero.
‘I consider myself honoured to have witnessed this.’