An elephant, who fell down a 16 meters (55 feet) well, was saved after a 16-hour rescue operation, forest officials in India’s southern Tamil Nadu state said on Friday.
The elephant fell into the well at Panchapali village of Dharmapuri district. The well was covered with bushes and did not have a fence or wall around it, Rajkumar, the district forest officer, told Reuters. Two other elephants have fallen into such wells in the past year in the area.
Wildlife veterinarians were lowered into the well to tranquilize the animal. He was then tied to a heavy-duty crane and pulled out from the well.
The 25-year-old male elephant reportedly fell into the well after being chased by a group of dogs. When locals heard the animal cry out for help, they alerted officials. While the elephant was down there, locals threw down coconut tree leaves so he could eat.
“It was a deep and narrow well,” said Rajkumar. “We were informed by locals early on Thursday and were able to retrieve the elephant only late in the night. We sedated the animal with the help of doctors and used a crane to lift it out of the well.”
The animal had been roaming around in the region with two other elephants for the past few days. Destruction of forests, rapid urbanization and rising village populations have created situations where wild animals and people come in close contact.
“He was found to be healthy and active when we monitored it for three hours after the rescue,” Rajkumar said. The elephant will be released in the nearby Hosur forest area.