Elephant Trapped In Well Is Rescued By 12-Hour Crane Operation
Dec 01, 2020 by apost team
In November of 2020, an elephant strayed into a village after wandering from a forest in Tamil Nadu's Dharmapuri district, falling into a deep well and becoming trapped. The incident sparked a massive 12-hour-long rescue operation, which saw rescue workers utilizing a crane to pull out the elephant back to safety.
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According to CNN, the elephant stumbled into the 50ft well by accident as it was chased by a pack of dogs in the village of Panchapalli. District forest officer Rajkumar explained that the well did not have a fence or wall around it and was covered by buses, making it easy for the elephant to miss. "It was a deep and narrow well," Rajkumar said. "We were informed by locals early on Thursday and were able to retrieve the elephant only late in the night."
Luckily for this elephant, its story had a happy ending. Forest workers began by clearing the bushes so they could access the well before removing the water from the well by pumping it out. According to the Independent, the elephant attacked the pipes, which meant the water kept leaking out. Rescue workers fed the animal coconut leaves while trapped to keep it calm before sedating the elephant and using a crane to hoist it out. The operation required the workers to use two excavators, trucks, and cranes to get the large animal back to safety.
"It was found to be healthy and active when we monitored it for three hours after the rescue," said Rajkumar.
Sadly, it marks the third time an elephant has fallen down such a well in the area this past year. Rapid urbanization, deforestation, and record population growth in rural India have led to an alarming rate of wildlife spilling into residential areas, sometimes resulting in violent attacks against humans.
A well-documented example of this is an incident in February 2016 when a leopard wandered into a Bangalore school, attacking three people. CCTV camera footage caught the big cat roaming through the school's corridors and even chasing and mauling three terrified men in the school's swimming pool. Forest Department staff were summoned to the scene to capture the big cat and embarked on a 10-hour-long chase before finally tranquilizing him and taking him to a nearby wildlife park for treatment.
"It was an 8-year-old full-grown male leopard. It may have strayed from the open forests near Whitefield, and once strayed, it could not go back," Ravi Ralf, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), told The Hindu.
Not long after this occurred, an elephant and its calf made their way into the village of Bishnupur in West Bengal state and trampled over motorbikes of residents and knocked into the walls of shacks, causing them to collapse and ruin people's homes. Photographer Biplab Hazra, who took photos of the event, wanted to bring attention to the hatred and violence wild animals face when they stumble into towns and villages by mistake.
"This happens because the villagers have to save their crops," Hazra told the Daily Mail.
The tension stems from the fact herds of elephants can damage entire harvests of crops. Frightening the animals away is sometimes the only thing locals can do to try and save their livelihoods.
Only last year, a leopard entered Jalandhar district's Lamma Pind village in the state of Punjab and ended up attacking six people. The panicked beast was eventually caught and tranquilized, but it wreaked havoc for at least 11 hours, reports the Indian Express. It was kept for "treatment and observation at the rescue center of the Bannerghatta Biological Park," said Santosh Kumar, the director of the park.
Wild animals making their way into more urban landscapes is not the only consequence of rapid deforestation. This September, a report by the World Wildlife Fund found that wildlife populations are experiencing a "catastrophic decline," with no sign of slowing. Dr. Andrew Terry, director of conservation at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), told the BBC the decline was crystal-clear proof that human activity has a devastating impact on natural habitats. This makes animal conservation areas and programs more crucial than ever.
"If nothing changes, populations will undoubtedly continue to fall, driving wildlife to extinction and threatening the integrity of the ecosystems on which we depend," Dr. Terry said.
According to the Independent, the elephant that was lifted from the well has since been released back into the wild in the nearby Hosur forest.
It is great this elephant was freed by dedicated rescue workers, but this isn’t the case for a lot of wild animals. Share this with the wildlife lovers in your life, and use the tale as inspiration for us all to work together for a better world.