GOALPARA, ASSAM, INDIA -- Forest officials and villagers came together in northeast India's Assam state to rescue an elephant that got trapped in a mud-pit.
Local media reports said that the adult male had been trapped since Wednesday (December 05).
While the animal continued to struggle for its freedom, poachers made the most of the opportunity and cut off its tusks.
Weakened by three days of struggling and not being able to feed, the elephant was unable to pull itself out when forest officials arrived at the scene on Saturday (December 08). Even the assistance of a tame elephant was insufficient to enable the trapped elephant to pull itself out of the mud.
Assam's Chief Conservator of Forests, D. Harprasad, said that the animal had been given medicine and vitamins to strengthen it, and that a team of veterinarians, experts and forest officials had been deployed round the clock to oversee the rescue operation.
"Along with a veterinary team, there is a team from the Guwahati zoo as well as wild elephant experts. The animal has been given antibiotics, vitamins and pain killers," Harprasad said.
A similar situation arose in the eastern province of Jharkhand, where a female elephant and her calf fell into an open well on the outskirts of a village near Chakradharpur town. Curious villagers crowded round the well, looking at the animals as the mother made desperate attempts to push her calf out of the well.
An earth-mover was deployed by officials after they rushed to the scene to rescue the trapped animals. The machine proved effective, as the elephants eventually made their way out of the well.
India is home to over 50 per cent of the world's Asiatic elephants. The elephants however, find themselves increasingly in conflict with human beings, as habitat destruction due to deforestation causes them to stray into agricultural field for food.
Poaching of the elephants for their highly-valued tusks has also contributed to their dwindling numbers.