It took more than 12 hours, but an elephant in India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu has been rescued after plunging into a well.
The elephant had wandered into the village of Dharmapuri from a nearby forest when it fell into the well, which an official from the Indian Forest Service estimated to be approx. 50 feet deep. The well did not have a barrier and was hidden by bushes.
Locals from the village warned authorities about the captured animal early on Thursday. They dropped banana leaves into the well that the elephant could eat as rescuers worked all night to free it, reports the BBC.
Forest officials brought a crane to pick up the elephant. Footage of the rescue showed that the elephant was fastened with belts and hung on its head when the crane lifted it to safety. Doctors helped rescuers calm the animal after it attacked pipes they used to pump water out of the well, a district forest officer told Reuters.
The area where the rescue took place has had some experience rescuing captured elephants. Two other elephants have fallen into wells in the past year, according to Reuters. Uncovered wells and ditches have posed a threat to the animals, Parveen Kaswan of the Indian Forest Service noted in a Twitter post Thursday. The animals, he said, need expansive soil to survive when searching for food and water.
Open wells and ditches in elephant migration routes are huge problems for these animals. Since they are long-lived creatures, migrate long distances for food and water.
At least we can do is cover such wells or keep security wall. Imagine it was a 50 foot deep well. pic.twitter.com/DowUTy6aKZ
– Parveen Kaswan, IFS (@ParveenKaswan) November 20, 2020
Authorities monitored the elephant for about three hours after the rescue. “It was found to be healthy and active,” the district forest officer said according to a Reuters report.
“Credits to the elephant also for her will,” Kaswan said.