Who put the elephant in, who helped her out?
It was that time of the year again, when elephants slowly started marking their presence. Like every year, there were incidents of households getting hit here and there, thankfully, nothing major though. What is always interesting to note every year is the consistency they maintain in terms of their movement patterns, and also in the damage sites they choose! Early that morning I decided to take off from my daily routine in front of my Mac book’s hypnotizing screen. I went to one of the restoration plots with my colleague Vijay when I got a frantic call informing about an elephant that had fallen into a tank. There wasn’t a moment to waste. After months of adrenaline rush created by leopards and gaurs, the elephants were back to continue their annual schedule. I rushed to the field with Anand and Vijay. Kulbhushan and Bhagyashree who were visiting also hopped in with us to the rescue mission.
As expected, she was one of our study individuals, part of one of the herds Anand and our team have been monitoring for the past decade. Her panic-stricken calf, was trumpeting loudly and running around in the vicinity until the forest department staff got close to her. It was no easy task indeed, even for the elephant to attempt a climb. What was fortunate was that the tank was amidst a forest patch, away from houses, which made the tough part of crowd control fairly easy. A minute, I paused and processed my memories and remembered that the herd was last sighted in that area two days ago. The thoughts of she being in the tank all that while bothered me.
The immediate move by the forest department staff was to demolish the side of the tank so she can use the rubble to climb out, which was also the only practical thing to do there. We set up a go pro belonging to Varun Nayar a filming crew member who was in Valparai as a part of a documentary.
Here is Varun Nayar’s documentation of what happened.. See for yourself.
The team that made this happen:Shaktivel, Prabhu, kumar and Shankar with the support from the locals of Tan Tea Estate.
In the past, there have been many instances in Valparai and across India where animals such as Deer, Leopards, Leopard cats have fallen into uncovered tanks and well’s, sometimes rescued and sometimes not so lucky. Little more caution from our end can ensure such incidents are minimized.