When Mayo the elephant was just a few days old, he nearly drowned. The near-death experience caused him to develop a strong phobia of water. Roxy Danckwerts, founder of Wild is Life animal sanctuary in Zimbabwe, was determined to help Mayo overcome this fear.

After 14 months of therapy, Roxy decided to find out if Mayo was ready to go back into the water. Her goal was to “retrain” him to think of going into the water as a fun activity, even if he’ll never forget his traumatic experience.

At first, Mayo was hesitant to follow Roxy into the water. She continued to coax him as, little by little, he moved further into the water. Finally, Mayo “took the plunge” and fully immersed himself!

This was an emotional moment for Roxy, who referred to Mayo’s progress as a huge breakthrough. It also means he’s one step closer to being released back into the wild. Watch this heartwarming video to see Mayo’s milestone!