WATCH: Rescuers use a bulldozer to save Zim young elephant from muddy pit

Animal rescuers in Zimbabwe have used a bulldozer to save a young elephant stuck deep inside a muddy pit near the resort town of Kariba.

The elephant spent around 24 hours in the pit, while members of its herd stood anxiously nearby.

A bulldozer had to be called in to carefully shave down the sides of the pit, while the weakened animal lay motionless caked in thick mud.

But even with the pit's treacherous sides skilfully levelled, the elephant appeared unable to get up.

Watch the video below

So the rescuers hit on another brainwave – a simple pale of fresh water.

"That smell of water often seems to urge them on," said the Kariba Animal Welfare Trust (KAWFT), which helped with the rescue. "The fact that a human was closer and splashing water, a greater effort was made to push, get up out the mud and out the pit."

Photos and videos posted by the group shows one volunteer dashing away as the mud-caked elephant, ears flapping and tail erect, at last charges out of its muddy prison to freedom.

Said KAWFT: "We mostly always imagine the worst when going into a wild animal situation. It was a pleasure to again have the best outcome as we watched the rescued individual walk away to find the rest of the family."