Hundreds Of Villagers Rush To Save Elephant Swept Away By Flood
Update (08/16/16) 10:46 AM EST: Sadly, on Tuesday, the elephant passed away from a heart attack, due to prolonged stress, heat and humidity, according to the New York Times.
An elephant lost her family, and nearly lost her life, before being saved in a rescue that was weeks in the making. Despite the efforts it took to get her safe and sound, the elephant had an entire village of people dedicated to seeing her rescue through.
The elephant became the victim of an extremely unlucky situation in early June when she was swept away from her herd in the midst of historic monsoon flooding in Assam, an Indian state located in the northeast region of the country.
The flooding was so strong, it was impossible for the elephant to swim against the currents.
Conservationists believe the elephant traveled more than 600 miles from Assam to the neighboring country of Bangladesh.
Wildlife officials from both India and Bangladesh have spent weeks trying to secure the elephant, who, after washing ashore in Bangladesh, was stranded in a secluded, flooded area - slowing down rescue efforts.
Thankfully, the undoubtedly stressed elephant had access to rice crops, sugar cane and some banana plants to survive on while waiting to be saved.
On Thursday, officials from India's forestry department were finally able to safely make the journey to Bangladesh in order rescue the elephant in need. But the effort was easier said than done.
Once tranquilized, the agitated elephant sluggishly walked around for about an hour before she became fully unconscious and collapsed - right into a deep pond. From there, it was a race against time to pull the elephant out of the water before she drowned.
"Hundreds of villagers came to its rescue when they saw the elephant had lost consciousness," Sayed Hossain, a veterinarian at the scene of the rescue, told AFP. "Dozens jumped into the pond and helped us tie the animal with ropes and chains. And finally, with the help of hundreds of villagers, we were able to pull it to dry ground."
Once the elephant gains enough strength to walk, rescuers hope to bring in handlers and another elephant as a guide to take her to a safari park near Dhaka where she'll be able to recover further. It's currently unclear as to whether there are plans to reunite the elephant with her herd.
Even so, the elephant, after spending so much time in discomfort and probably fear, is finally on the road to healing.
Watch this video about a herd that saved a baby elephant from drowning: