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Trapped elephant rescued by forest staff

A Correspondent
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A female sub-adult elephant trapped under a fallen tree in the Thekkady forest is set free

Forest officials remove leaves and branches lying atop an elephant trapped under a fallen tree in Periyar Tiger Reserve on Wednesday.
Forest officials remove leaves and branches lying atop an elephant trapped under a fallen tree in Periyar Tiger Reserve on Wednesday.

A team of Forest Department officials on Wednesday tracked a female sub-adult elephant as it rejoined its herd and made its way to the core area of the Periyar Tiger Reserve.

But this was no regular monitoring.

Earlier in the day, they had received word from the tribal people about the pachyderm struggling to free itself from a heavy tree that had fallen over it, and had successfully rescued the animal after a two-hour operation.

The elephant had got trapped in vines hanging from a huge tree near the Mannakkudy settlement inside the Thekkady forest. Its efforts to move out caused the dried-up tree to fall over it. Tribal people passing by noticed the elephant’s bid to break free, and informed the reserve authorities.

Forest officials reached the site by 7 a.m. Range officer Manu Sathyan, who led the operation along with other officials, watchers, and the tribal people, said their task was to rescue the animal without hurting it and avoiding a panic-like situation in the forest. The elephant too co-operated, he said. A veterinary surgeon was put on standby in case the animal had some injuries.

Some two hours later, the animal was free, and without any injuries, Mr. Sathyan said. Soon, it was on its way to join its herd.

A team was deputed to monitor the pachyderm’s movements, Deputy Director Sanjayankumar told The Hindu . The rescue operation involving the official machinery and the tribal people was praiseworthy, he said.

The PTR is known for inclusive development by entrusting the tribal people with forest protection. By making them the main stakeholders, outside intervention, including smuggling of forest wealth and poaching, had been brought down to almost zero in the reserve, Mr. Sanjayankumar said.

The tribal people informed the forest officials in case of any accident or if poaching was noticed.

It helped the officials reach the site and provide help in time, he said.

The female elephant had got trapped in vines hanging from a huge tree inside Thekkady forest.

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