A mother African elephant and her baby lie mired in mud as family members look on in Zambia's Luangwa Valley (map) on November 1.
The pair were rescued by wildlife officials and conservationists after a two-hour battle against heat, dehydration, and rapidly drying mud.
The Kapani lagoon, where the elephants got strapped, is nearly dry and very sticky at this time of year—making it easy for an animal to become ensnared, said Mindy Roberts, sales director for Norman Carr Safaris, whose Kapani Lodge overlooks the lagoon.
On this particular occasion the baby became trapped first. "One of her feet could have become stuck, and then as she thrashed around, her whole body got stuck," Roberts said.
When the mother elephant came to help the baby, she sank into the mud as well. Other members of the herd quickly retreated when the rescuers arrived.
(See "Rare Pictures: Crocodile Attacks Elephant.")