Offbeat India: an elephant falls into a well, 50 rescuers, 4 pm and a crane to free it
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Falling into a well more than twenty meters deep, a wild elephant was rescued thanks to an extraordinary rescue operation .
A wild elephantfell into a deep well in India was saved after an imposing rescue operation which mobilized, for sixteen hours, about fifty rescuers and a crane.
In search of food, the elephant had ventured early last Thursday in a village in the district of Dharmapuri in the state of Tamil Nadu (South) but it fell into a well more than twenty meters deep, explains a local ranger, Rajkumar.
"Villagers heard a noise and saw that the animal had fallen into the well," Rajkumar told AFP. Villagers believe the 25-year-old elephant, nearly 2.5 meters tall, was trying to escape from dogs that had chased it.
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Frightened, the villagers called the authorities for help, and about fiftyand forest rangers quickly arrived, only to find that the elephant was stuck in the lower part of the well, which was narrower.
Rescuers tried to pump water from the well, but the frightened elephant pushed back the equipment they were bringing down. They then decided to put her to sleep with tranquilizer darts.
"We tried three times and twice succeeded in injecting him with sedatives," says Rajkumar.
At nightfall, rescuers finally descended into the well to attach straps to the four feet of the sleeping elephant, then lifted by a crane to finally come out of the well under the watchful eye of the gathered villagers.
Once outside, the animal was examined byfor a good half hour before being brought back to the forest.
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India is home to some 30,000 elephants, which represents 60% of the Asian elephants in the world.
But urban development causes conflicts with human beings. From 2014 to 2019, around 2,360 people perished in wild elephant attacks, according to Indian government data.
During the same period, men were responsible for the deaths of some 510 elephants of which 333 died from electrocutions and a hundred from poisoning or poaching, according to these figures.
In June in Kerala (South), a plantation worker was arrested after the death of a pregnant elephant killed by a fruit trapped with firecrackers, whose agony had shocked the country. The trapped fruit is a technique commonly used by the villagers of the region to protect their crops from wild animals, driven from their natural habitat by deforestation.
Forest rangers are working to "provide food and water to animals in the forests themselves" in order to minimize encounters with humans, the Minister of Environment and Forests assured in August , Prakash Javadekar, before World Elephant Day.
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