When the villagers in Kaeng Hang Maeo, Thailand, awoke to an ear-shattering noise, they peeked outside with their flashlights where they saw a herd of 40 wild elephants frantically pacing around one of their friends who was in trouble.
One of the mother elephants had collapsed next to a well after she was tangled in an electric-wired fence that surrounded it. The villagers called forest rangers for help when they discovered the reason why she had gotten trapped in the first place: Her baby had fallen into the well.
“The family of more than 40 were crying and jittering around,” officials with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife said.
The villagers and officials jumped into action and dug a large slope out of the dirt around the 9-foot-deep well to allow the calf to climb out.
The young elephant was completely covered in mud, and squirmed and struggled in the well for 30 minutes as her rescuers continued digging. Her mother could be heard crying out in the background.
The backhoe reached down near the baby’s face to make a final dig, and she stretched her trunk out and touched it gently before making the final climb back to safety.
With help from the rescuers, the frightened calf was finally on solid ground and quickly ran back to the woods.
It is unfortunately very common for wild elephant calves to find themselves stuck in wells or ditches while they forage for food with their families. Wild elephants are also at risk of being poisoned by farmers who want to keep them away from crops.
Today these poor calves are regularly poached from the wild to be used in the entertainment industry. Elephant rides are a major tourist attraction in Thailand and India, they are forced to carry people sitting on their backs and most of their lives are spent on the end of a chain.
Thanks to her kind rescuers, at least one tiny calf was reunited with her family back in the wild.
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