Lifestyle & Human Interest

Video: Rescuers Step In After Frantic Elephant Realizes He's Stuck in Water-Filled Canal


Time and again, people show themselves capable of rallying together when either humans or animals are in need. Emergencies often bring out the best in people, and even though it’s sad when a person or critter is in a bad spot, it’s nice to see others work together to save them.

Canals and spillways are notoriously bad spots to get stuck in, as the steep sides make simply crawling out impossible. When there’s flooding or higher water than usual, the current can quickly sweep you away.

You’ve probably seen rescues of the sort below, where some hapless creature is stranded, terrified, in the middle of the raging waters, but some noble human being will risk their own safety to rescue the animal.

In this particular video, plenty of bystanders jumped in to help and created a human chain down the cement side of the canal so the rescuer and the rescuee could be hauled back to dry land.

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That’s all well and good when it’s a dog you’re saving, but what about an elephant? There’s no way the same methods would work, and you’re in far more danger if you get too close.

Elephants love water. They play in it, they swim in it and they like a good cool-off. But one elephant who stumbled into a canal in Sri Lanka found himself stuck, unable to scale the steep sides and free himself.

Onlookers watched as the elephant attempted to crawl out of the canal, but he was repeatedly foiled. At one point he panicked and started swimming into deeper water, heading away from the noise and people congregating bankside.

It was easy to tell from his frantic movements that he was deeply distressed and frustrated. A rescue team hatched a plan: Why not build a heavy ladder and anchor it so the elephant could haul itself out?

They took a heavy-duty rope, tied tires to it and threw the end of it into the canal so the elephant could reach it. The elephant immediately understood the rope-and-tire ladder’s purpose, and tried to use it, but kept slipping at the last moment.

As he slipped down the cement repeatedly, he probably damaged his legs, and at one point he crashed back into the water head-first and stayed there a moment, motionless, seeming to give up.

His rescuers tried adding more lines, tires and logs so the elephant could get a better grip, and finally, he was able to hoist himself up and out of the canal.

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As soon as his feet were back on solid ground, he high-tailed it away from the honking cars and shouting people, probably still pretty panicked but relieved to be free.

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