Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 August 2019

Baby elephants rescued from muddy pit in Thai forest

Park rangers say young animals were trapped for days before they were discovered

Six elephant calves were found trapped in a muddy pond in Thailand's Thap Lan National Park in Nakhon Ratchasima province on March 28, 2019. Department of Natural Park, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation via AP
Six elephant calves were found trapped in a muddy pond in Thailand's Thap Lan National Park in Nakhon Ratchasima province on March 28, 2019. Department of Natural Park, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation via AP

Six baby elephants separated from their parents and trapped in a muddy pit for days have been rescued by park rangers in rural Thailand.

Patrolling rangers found the elephants in a national park east of Bangkok on Wednesday afternoon, park superintendent Prawatsart Chantheap told AFP.

Once the rangers realised the calves, aged between one and four years old, could not climb out of the watering hole, some left to bring back digging tools while others stayed overnight to keep watch over the frightened creatures.

"Our team arrived with hoes [on Thursday morning] and we began to dig around the rim [of the pit] to make it less steep," he said.

Thai park rangers help trapped baby elephants out of a pit in Thap Lan National Park. Department of Natural Park, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation via AP
Thai park rangers help trapped baby elephants out of a pit in Thap Lan National Park. Department of Natural Park, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation via AP

After three hours of digging to build a makeshift ramp, the mud-covered babies stumbled out of the pit one by one as the rangers cheered them on.

"Go, go, follow each other!" the rangers yelled in a video recorded by the national parks department. "Go, children, go!"

Mr Prawatsart said the rangers had observed a herd of 30 adult elephants nearby and believed the calves must have been separated from them.

"We believe they were stuck there for at least two days because after they got out their legs were weak," he said.

Wild elephants are Thailand's national animal but their numbers have dwindled to about 2,700 from a peak of over 100,000 in 1850.

Deforestation and habitat loss has brought them in closer contact with humans , and they often clash with villagers and farmers.

Elephants are also poached or domesticated for entertainment and tourism.

Updated: March 30, 2019 07:11 PM

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