If you have time for just one dose of animal cuteness today, make it this heart-warming video snippet of a newborn elephant taking its first wobbly steps in South Africa's Londolozi Game Reserve. 

Forming a protective barricade around the new arrival, the rest of the herd is quick to lend a helping trunk as the baby struggles to its feet before waddling forward a few steps. Newborn African elephants weigh around 120kg (265lbs) at birth, and this youngster will remain shaky on its feet for a few weeks yet. 

"As is typical of elephants, there was great ceremony to the occasion and the herd were there to support the mother after her 22-month-long pregnancy. As they jostled around the baby I kept stressing that it was about to be trampled, but their movements were gentle and controlled, and the baby bounced amongst them on new-found feet," recalls Londolozi's game ranger and photographer Amy Attenborough.

Newborn Elephant 2_2015_03_25
The newborn finds its strength before lifting its small body and attempting to take its very first steps. Image: Amy Attenborough
Elepant Newborn 1_2015_03_25
Image: Amy Attenborough

"[The herd] helped the mother to bury the afterbirth and spent a large amount of time dust bathing themselves and the baby, possibly to rid it of scent and thus prevent predators from smelling this vulnerable new creature," she adds.

Tragically, with elephant slaughter for ivory reaching unprecedented levels across the African continent, watching this little one's first steps into a very uncertain future for its species is also a pretty bitter-sweet experience. 

For more details about this incredible sighting (and many others!), visit the Londolozi blog.

Baby Ellie Related Content 2015 03 25