These are the astonishing pictures of rescuers saving a giraffe that was stuck down a drain.
The incredible images show a huge crowd of kind-hearted volunteers struggling to haul the towering animal out using a ropes and a blindfold.
The unusual rescue mission was launched on Monday after the two-tonne bull giraffe fell into a septic tank at a game reserve in South Africa.
Spot the mistake: The beautiful beast struggles in vain to escape the septic tank it has fallen into
Group bonding: A crowd of locals join in the effort to save the enormous two ton giraffe at the Marloth Park game reserve in South Africa
Local vet Cobus Raath told how his team was called in to try to save the frightened animal.
He said: ‘We got a call early in the morning and they said the giraffe was stuck down a drain.
‘When we arrived we saw he was stuck down a concrete pit.
‘He must have been feeding in the night and stepped on the concrete lid of a septic tank, which collapsed under his weight.
‘He had managed to get his front legs out but his hind legs were trapped and he was unable to free himself.’
Dr Raath told how his team managed to blindfold the giraffe and put cotton wool in it ears to try and calm the animal down.
They then tied a rope around his head and pulled it down towards the ground while a team of 20 volunteers helped heave it out of the hole.
Blind man’s buff: The team cover the giraffe’s eye in an effort to keep it calm as they pull it from the ground
He said: ‘The animal was distressed and had been trying to get out.
‘We decided not to incapacitate him but blindfolded him to try and calm him down.
‘We then called a load of local people who rushed to help and we used ropes and brute force to pull him out of the hole sideways.
‘It was a massive operation and took us about 20 minutes to get him out.’
The pictures of the rescue were captured by South African wildlife photographer Peter Craig-Cooper.
The stricken giraffe, which is believed to be around nine years old, staggered to its feet after being pulled free.
Dr Raath said his team treated the animal at the scene for shock before releasing it back into its enclosure.
Back on his feet: After hours of struggling, the animal gets into an upright position
The lucky animal was today being monitored by staff at its home inside the Marloth Park reserve, which lies in eastern South Africa near the country’s famous Kruger National Park.
It is believed the giraffe had spent several hours stuck in the drain after tumbling into the septic tank overnight on Sunday.
Officials were today working to improve fencing at the private game reserve.
Dr Raath said the freed animal appeared to have coped well despite its ordeal.
‘It has been released back into the park and seems to be doing fine,’ he said.
‘The rangers will keep an eye on him to check for signs of injury, but we think he should be okay.
‘He is lucky that there were so many people on hand to pull him out.
‘It was an unusual rescue to be part of, but we’re pleased to have been able to help.’