The navy of Sri Lanka was perplexed on spotting a large gray lump floating in the water off the coast of Sri Lanka; it was not a whale nor like anything they’d ever seen before at sea. When they got close enough to make out the mysterious shape, they realized they were in for a daring rescue.
The patrol boat was about 10 miles (16 km) off Sri Lanka’s northeast coast one day in July 2017 when the navy personnel first spotted the large gray mass floating.
Although there are plenty of blue and humpback whales off the coast of the country, this didn’t look like any aquatic creature the crew had ever seen. Sure enough, they steered closer to investigate—and while it was an animal after all, it wasn’t one you’d expect to find out at sea!
Floating in the water was a large elephant!
Asian and Sri Lankan elephants have no problems with swimming. As a matter of fact, they love the water and make a habit of going for dips in the ocean with little incident.
“They’re very good swimmers,” Avinash Krishnan, a research officer with the conservation group A Rocha, said, the Express reported. “Swimming about 15km from the shore is not unusual for an elephant.”
“But they can’t keep swimming for long because they burn a lot of energy,” he continued. “And the salt water isn’t good for their skin, so in this case, the situation probably warranted human intervention.”
Good job👍! Luckily they spotted the elephant!https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4016730/elephant-saved-sri-lanka-navy-10-miles-out-to-sea/#
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This elephant, though, had likely been swept away into the ocean by the powerful current as it tried to cross the Kokkilai lagoon, which separates two tracts of jungle, navy spokesman Chaminda Walakuluge said.
“They usually wade through shallow waters or even swim across to take a shortcut,” Walakuluge said.
Although the elephant’s trunk was still above water and it was still moving along, it was clear that the animal was struggling to stay afloat with no easy way to get back home.
— Daily Express (@Daily_Express) July 14, 2017
Luckily for the elephant, another navy vessel and Department of Wildlife officials were soon dispatched to the area to save its life.
Members of the navy donned their diving gear and surrounded the elephant, prepared to help, with assistance from wildlife experts.
After some initial trial and error, the majestic creature realized his human friends were there to help, not to hurt. A member of the navy was able to approach the elephant and get acquainted, reassuring the massive animal to calm him down before tying ropes around his body. The other ends of the ropes were tied to a boat, which gently towed the large mammal towards the shore.
— People Pets (@PEOPLEPets) July 14, 2017
It wasn’t an easy journey back in, however. The rescue operation to save the elephant lasted a laborious 12 hours.
Some elephants in Africa have been recorded swimming as far as 48 kilometers—the equivalent of around 30 miles—and have been known to stay afloat for as long as six hours at a time.
Thus, the 12-hour, 10-mile trek back to land was plenty exhausting for this land mammal, especially after spending so much time fighting the current that had swept him out to sea.
Fortunately, the elephant made it back to shore after its near-death experience. The animal was in good shape as it headed back into the wild. Hats off to his valiant rescuers; that’s certainly a miraculous rescue they won’t be forgetting any time soon.
Watch the video: