A waterhole can be a cruel thing. Depressions in the landscape that at certain times of the year store life-giving water can become death traps as they dry up and turn to thick, sticky mud.

Big Life rangers were recently called out to a horrible scene at one such waterhole in the Enduimet Wildlife Management Area, on the Tanzanian side of the Greater Amboseli Ecosystem. There were three giraffes, all stuck in the mud and completely unable to move. Local community members suspected that they had run into the mud to escape lions.

Sadly, two of the giraffes were already dead, but there was life yet in the third. The rangers and community members worked together to reach the giraffe, a challenging feat in itself. With great effort, they secured a rope around it, and were able to pull it out with a vehicle.

Giraffe numbers are struggling across Africa, so every life saved is significant. Across the continent, there are around 110,000 giraffes. The local population in the Amboseli ecosystem is about 5% of that total – around 7,000 individuals. While that may seem like a small number, but it’s double what it was 10 years ago before Big Life’s anti-poaching programs kicked into high gear.

Thankfully, this lucky giraffe still had enough strength to stand up on its own, and was cheered on its way by the team.

Safari njema, twiga!