After a six-hour long ordeal villagers “in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu” breathed a collective sigh of relief for their efforts in rescuing a fraught elephant who had found herself trapped at the bottom of an abandoned “farm well”.
With the assistance of, and encouragement from, “wildlife officials, a doctor and volunteers” an adolescent female elephant was able to crawl, then walk up a slope created for her by digging with excavators through the “soft” dirt.
Throughout the rescue (at one point she lay down either in hopelessness or to rest) “the six-year-old” pachyderm was hosed down with water from above, to prevent dehydration, and delivered of nourishment including “banana tree bark and sugarcane” which she thoroughly relished.
Now, while it is known that the “juvenile female” had been with her elephant herd (which numbered 40 strong) in the Udedurgam forest reserve the previous night what is not known is exactly what caused the “stricken elephant” to tumble the 30 feet down the old well.
And despite the little elephant’s desperate cries her elephant family was unable to help her. They reluctantly retreated back to the forest after they were unable to find her.
There had been speculation that “a low hanging wire in the village” caused “an electric shock to be delivered” to the animal resulting in the fall. (Oftentimes villagers will take preventive measures, such as electric fencing to mitigate the human-elephant conflict as a tool against crop raiding.)
As the villagers shouted words of encouragement the Indian elephant, who had suffered from the fall, finally found her “foothold” and emerged into the sunshine. And as if to give her rescuers an elephant thank you she turned back around, with a slight pause, to acknowledge them all (including a little rumble) before heading out.
For this sweet elephant was ‘oh, so ready’ to rejoin her elephant herd.
Source: “Touching Moment Elephant Turns Round to Thank Villagers Who Spent Six Hours Freeing Him From Dried-Up Well” by Rod Ardehali for Mailonline
Indian Elephants are a subspecies of the Asian Elephant see Wikipedia Indian Elephant
Image: CC Flickr photo of Painting / Drawing of Elephants posted by Fiona Henderson