The elephant, which strayed into a village bordering a forest in Tamil Nadu’s Dharmapuri district, fell into the well that was covered with bushes and did not have a fence or wall around it, according to district forest officer Rajkumar.
“It was a deep and narrow well,” said Rajkumar, who goes by only one name. “We were informed by locals early on Thursday and were able to retrieve the elephant only late in the night.”
Forest officials first started by clearing the bushes around the well and then tried to pump water out of the well. But the elephant attacked the pipes pumping out the water, according to Rajkumar.
“Eventually, we sedated the animal with the help of doctors and used a crane to lift it out of the well,” Rajkumar said.
“It was found to be healthy and active when we monitored it for three hours after the rescue.”
Two other elephants have fallen into such wells in the past year in the area.
The destruction of forests, rapid urbanization, and rising village populations have led animals to venture close to human settlements in India. There has been a spate of incidents in recent years of wildlife wandering into villages, and sometimes attacking or being killed by humans.
In 2016, a leopard entered school grounds in the city of Bangalore and mauled three people; days after that incident, a large elephant rumbled through a town in West Bengal state, knocking over walls of small shacks and trampling motorbikes. Nobody was hurt; officials tranquilized the elephant, and used a crane to lift it and return it to the forest. Just last year, a panicked leopard attacked five people in a village in the state of Punjab before it was trapped and tranquilized.
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