Thursday 19 January 2017

Digger and firecrackers used to rescue elephants trapped in Chinese reservoir

Published 13/10/2016 | 11:19

Two elephants and a baby elephant trapped in the reservoir after having fallen inside when drinking water at a farm in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan province. / AFP PHOTO / STR / China OUTSTR/AFP/Getty Images
Two elephants and a baby elephant trapped in the reservoir after having fallen inside when drinking water at a farm in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan province. / AFP PHOTO / STR / China OUTSTR/AFP/Getty Images
Rescue workers try to free trapped wild asian elephants in Jinghong, Yunnan province, China October 11, 2016. Picture: China Daily/via Reuters
Two elephants and a baby elephant trapped in the reservoir after having fallen inside when drinking water at a farm in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan province. / AFP PHOTO / STR / China OUTSTR/AFP/Getty Images
Two elephants with a baby elephant heading into the forest after being freed from a reservoir where they had become trapped in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan province. / AFP PHOTO / STR / China OUTSTR/AFP/Getty Images
A digger trying to free two elephants and a baby elephant, which became trapped, after having fallen inside a reservoir when drinking water at a farm in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan province. / AFP PHOTO / STR / China OUTSTR/AFP/Getty Images

Chinese authorities used a digger to break a concrete wall and free three elephants who had been trapped in a reservoir for two days.

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New China has reported that the the elephants were trapped in a concrete reservoir as it filled up with rainwater; the two adults had to hold the calf up so that it could breathe.

The Forestry Department of Yunnan province said that it was likely the baby elephant fell into the reservoir and the two adults went in to help. Other elephants surrounded them attempting to pull the three out by the trunks.

Forestry staff used firecrackers to scare the other elephants away so that they could reach the reservoir, and used a digger to break the reservoir and form a path out.

It took several attempts over the two days to get the elephants away from the reservoir and rescuers “risked their lives” as the elephants became more agitated trying to help.

"We were worried that the baby elephant might choke on the water or die from exhaustion," said Xiong Chaoyong, deputy manager of Asian elephant breeding and rescue center in Yunnan.

The baby elephant made it out safely, still protected by the two adults.

China has only 300 Asian elephants, which are ‘first-class’ nationally protected animals.

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