It took more than 12 hours, but an elephant in southern India, Tamil Nadu, was rescued after being submerged in a well.
The elephant got lost in the village of Dharmapuri in a nearby forest when it fell into a well that an Indian Forest Service official estimated at a depth of about 50 feet. The well has no barrier and was covered by bushes.
Locals in the village warned authorities about the trapped animal early Thursday. They dropped banana leaves into the well so the elephant could eat as rescuers worked all night to free him, the BBC reported.
Forest officials brought a crane to retrieve the elephant. Rescue footage shows the elephant strapped to its belts and hung upside down as the crane lifts it to safety. Doctors helped rescuers calm the animal after it attacked pipes they used to pump water from the well, a district forest official told Reuters.
The area where the rescue took place had some experience in rescuing captured elephants. Two other elephants have fallen into wells in the past year, according to Reuters. Uncovered wells and ditches pose a threat to animals, Parven Kaswan of the Indian Forest Service said in a Twitter post on Thursday. Animals, he said, need vast land to survive while eating for food and water.
Open wells and ditches on elephants’ migration routes are huge problems for these animals. Since they are distant creatures, migrate long distances for food and water.
The least we can do is cover such wells or keep a firewall. Imagine it is a 50 foot deep well. pic.twitter.com/DowUTy6aKZ
– Parveen Kaswan, IFS (@ParveenKaswan) 20 November 2020
Authorities observed the elephant approximately three hours after the rescue. “He has been found to be healthy and active,” the district forest official said, according to a Reuters report.
“The elephant’s loans are also for her will,” Caswan said.