Sri Lankan Navy rescues elephant washed out to sea

Navy saved the elephant along with the Wildlife Department

Navy saved the elephant along with the Wildlife Department

The Sri Lankan Navy toiled 12 hours to rescue an elephant from the ocean off the island’s north-eastern coast recently. “It was a miraculous escape” spokesman Chaminda Walakuluge said.

After Navy personnel spotted an elephant that appeared washed out to sea on Tuesday, they swiftly launched rescue efforts along with the Wildlife Department.

“While we have the skills to carry out a rescue operation at sea, we do not know how to deal with an animal. That is why we took the professional advice of wildlife experts all through. They insisted that we first establish a connection with the animal before attempting to rescue it,” Mr. Walakuluge told The Hindu on Thursday.

The tusker was probably swept into the sea while crossing the Kokkilai lagoon — near Mullaitivu and Trincomalee districts — that runs between two jungles, the Navy said. Sri Lanka has an estimated 7,500 elephants in the wild. The island is witnessing a growing incidence of human-animal conflict due to reported loss in habitat for the country’s famed elephants.

After spotting the apparently distressed animal, Navy and Forest personnel towed the animal to the shore using ropes. The Wildlife Department said the elephant is 8-foot high, male and about 35 years old. Soon after the rescue, the Wildlife Department left the animal in Yan Oya, a forest area in Trincomalee. “Wildlife staff went and checked on the animal yesterday [Wednesday] to make sure there were no wounds. There was none.”

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Printable version | Oct 3, 2022 7:48:30 pm |