Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Baby elephants in a bind

Just the other day, video circulated of the rescue of a baby elephant after it had fallen into a ditch on a tea plantation in India. The 4- or 5-year-old male calf had been crossing the estate in search of food with the rest of his herd. The mother and the other elephants made several failed attempts at rescue, so locals, forest rangers, and an animal welfare volunteer extracted him with an excavator. The calf suffered only minor injuries and was reunited with his mother. A search on YouTube revealed that it's not all that unusual for young elephants to require being plucked from their predicaments - often with the use of heavy equipment. Here are some dramatic videos of young elephants being rescued...
...from a well in Sri Lanka
...from marshy wetland in India
...from a manhole in Thailand
...from another well in Sri Lanka
...from another ditch in India
In the photos above, a baby elephant has been struck by a train in a bird sanctuary in India. It was one of a group of wild Asian elephants that had entered the sanctuary in search of food. The train knocked the calf down and seriously injured it, so it was lifted with a crane and was taken to the state zoo for treatment. It seems the Asian elephants are more vulnerable - I didn't come across any African elephant calves requiring such intervention.

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