Last week, an elephant calf and its mother fell into an abandoned trap in Kuttampuzha Forest range near Kothamangalam, India. After a nine-hour rescue operation, forest officials led the pair to safety.
The elephants fell into a well which had been covered by bamboo leaves. Locals spotted the troubled elephants and contacted forest officials.
Divisional Forest Officer P. Nagaraj led the rescue operation:
"The pit was about 10 feet deep, but it had about five feet of slushy mud," Nagaraj told Express News Service.
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Because the surrounding area was relatively inaccessible — the area could only be reached by crossing the river in bamboo rafts, making it impossible to bring in either mechanical rescue devices or trained elephants to help with the rescue —forest officials had to create "a sloppy path" from the trap by pushing leaves and mud into the pit, essentially levelling its banks.
See the elephants below:
In the 1960s, the Forest Department set up traps to catch wild elephants for domestication.
The Hindu reports that V. K. Venkitachalam, secretary of the Heritage Animal Task Force, an NGO specializing in the protection of elephants, "demanded that abandoned traps should be levelled as it posed serious threat to wildlife. Protective structures should also be constructed for wells in forest settlements. He also demanded action against those who failed to cover open traps in the Kothamangalam forest area."