Dramatic moment a herd of elephants rush to save defenceless calf from a pack of wild dogs

Dramatic moment a herd of elephants rush to save defenceless calf from a pack of wild dogs

Despite generally being perceived to be gentle giants, elephants - like most animals - will go out of their way to protect their young, even if that means charging straight in the direction of potential predators.

And that's because while many animals will be naturally deterred by the size of the fully grown adult elephants, the much smaller calves do not pose much of a threat and are therefore an easy target for an attack.

But prey on an elephant's offspring, and suddenly those parental instincts will emerge with a vengeance. In fact, this past Monday, a safari guide saw firsthand just how far elephants are willing to go to protect their young from danger.

This is the moment a herd of elephants chased down a pack of wild dogs who can be seen approaching their calf:

The safari guide, Brent Leo-Smith, came across the heart-stopping sighting at the Sabi Sands Game Reserve in South Africa.

He arrived at what could have quickly turned into a hostile brawl between two dominant species. The encounter took place in a section of Sabi Sands known as the Djuma Private Game Reserve, which Leo-Smith had reached via a safari vehicle.

"Look at that! Isn't that amazing?" the guide says while watching the gripping scene unfold before him.

Elephants charge at wild dogs to protect their calf. Credit: ViralHog / Screenshot

It was there that he found a herd of elephants confronting a pack of wild dogs.

"It's amazing to watch how those elephants immediately chased [the wild dogs] and the baby charged with the rest of the herd," Smith can be heard saying in the video. "Then they made a protective circle around the baby"

"Wild dogs don't actually show any potential threat to the elephants," he added. "I mean, I've never heard of a wild dog attacking a baby elephant or anything. But elephants just react really negatively to any predator"

Fortunately, the situation seemed to resolve itself when the wild dogs ran in the opposite direction, clearly reluctant to take on the world's largest land mammals.