According to state media, researchers in China used a helicopter and a digger to free three wild Asian elephants — including one young calf — from a water tank where they had been trapped for more than two days.
The images showed the three of them trapped in filthy water, with their trunks bent to breathe inside a tiny concrete basin just several meters wide, with the baby immersed up to its eyes.
The baby elephant probably tumbled into the well while its parents attempted to assist it, according to authorities in Yunnan’s southwestern province.
More than a dozen wild elephants gathered around the tank, becoming enraged after numerous attempts to pull out their friends.
The infant’s condition worsened, according to Xinhua, as heavy rain hampered rescue operations.
“We were concerned that the newborn elephant might choke on the water or die of exhaustion,” Xiong Chaoyong, a deputy manager at Yunnan’s Asian elephant breeding and rescue center, said according to Xinhua.
Firecrackers and helicopters were used to keep the rest of the herd away, allowing a digging machine to smash one wall of the tank, providing the pachyderms with an escape route. The digging procedure took around a half-hour.
The CITES Appendix I status for Asian elephants encompasses the entire species, but po.ac.hing has reduced their population to around 300 in the wild.