It’s not uncommon for elephants to become trapped in mud pits in the Eastern hemisphere, and as we can only imagine, the experience is sure to be somewhat terrifying for the animals. Fortunately, most people who find these animals in such a heartbreaking situation are likely to seek help after hearing the animals’ desperate cries.
Such a circumstance transpired just this past Wednesday when a team of rangers started patrolling a national park in Thailand. The team purportedly happened upon six elephant calves that were trapped inside of a steep mud pit with no apparent way out.
Image Credit: Department of Natural Park, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation via AP
The ages of the six elephant calves varied, but it’s estimated that they were between one and four years old. The rangers believed that the baby elephants may have been helplessly trapped in the mud pit for several days and that they were probably starving.
The rangers obviously couldn’t just leave the elephant calves in the mud pit to suffer, so they did the only thing they could: they rescued the animals. After mustering every excavating tool they could, including a cache of hoes and shovels, they spent hours improvising a ramp out of the mud.
"Our team arrived with hoes…and we began to dig around the rim to make it less steep," park manager Prawatsart Chantheap explained. "We believe they were stuck there for at least two days because after they got out their legs were weak."
The following video, released by the Department of National Parks, shows the elephants climbing out of the mud pit:
The ramp’s less-aggressive inclination enabled the calves to escape the mud pit more easily; one by one, they fled the mud pit and scurried off into the surrounding forest, likely in search of their parents or of food. The animals were unquestionably scared after enduring such an experience.
While the calves’ parental units were nowhere to be found initially, the rangers allegedly found a herd of 30 adult elephants not too far from where the little ones became stranded. Given their proximity, it probably wasn’t a coincidence. The rangers believed that the calves belonged to this herd, and with a little luck, perhaps they’ll be reunited.
Elephants, in general, are in serious trouble. Their numbers have been decimated over the years by factors such as deforestation, habitat loss, and illegal poaching. With that in mind, it’s great to see that the rangers were able to rescue the calves – perhaps they’ll go on to help spur population growth in the region.